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CONSUMER ALERT: Employment scams on the rise

(NBC15)
Published: Apr. 19, 2020 at 12:04 PM CDT
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Consumer experts say people report losing more than $15 million to fraud in the last four month.

With people out of work and isolated at home, the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau says it's the perfect storm for scammers.

"It's hurting people at their most vulnerable time, but we know scammers have no conscience, they don't care about taking your last dollar," says Susan Bach, of the Wisconsin BBB.

The BBB is tracking complaints into its scam tracker online, from fake cures to misleading websites.

"New websites are popping up every day, selling this type of protective gear and we really just want to make sure people check out sites before ever giving any credit card information," adds Bach.

With so many businesses shut down, and people out of work, the BBB says there's an increase in employment scams.

"It's really the perfect storm for scammers who want to perpetrate some kind of work at home or employment scam. If you're looking for work and you get some kind of offer, we're really encouraging people to research that company, make sure it's a legitimate offer. Ask your friends, a trusted coworker about those, and avoid that isolation because that's the key to this and that's what scammers are counting on," says Bach.

It's important to report scams and fraud - the complaints which come into the BBB and the Wisconsin Department of Consumer Protection are shared with the Federal Trade Commission.

We took a look at the latest from the FTC tracking fraud related to COVID-19, and found there are more than 20,000 complaints filed since the beginning of the year.

People have also reported losing more than $15 million to the fraud.