Surge of job scams during pandemic leads to big losses, says Better Business Bureau

Fake job scams have surged during the pandemic, warns the Better Business Bureau.

Victims typically 25 to 34, targeted for their financial information

The Better Business Bureau is warning people about fake job scams, which have been surging during the pandemic. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images)

Fake job scams have spiked during the pandemic, warns the Better Business Bureau.

Many of the incidents start with scammers posing as recruiters and making unsolicited pitches for job openings online or over the phone.

That can lead to a fake interview or job offer and then attempts to acquire personal and financial information, the organization says in a news release.

Wes Lafortune, media and communications specialist at the Calgary-based BBB, estimates thousands of these scams occur across the country each year and can lead to millions of dollars in losses.

"They pose as recruiters and they start talking to you about, 'We have a position, sounds like you'd be perfect for it,' and they establish a rapport with you," he said.

Recently, a Calgarian was contacted by email and was offered a position after participating in a phone interview.

The scam was used to gather banking information and steal the individual's money, says the Calgary bureau, which serves southern Alberta and East Kootenay.

"Often these things involve cheques, so they'll say, 'Oh, we're going to send you a cheque for your expenses," Lafortune said. "Of course, [the cheque] is rubber, it will bounce and they're going to get your banking information, or they'll simply ask you for your banking information."

According to the news release, the largest number of reports were from those 25 to 34 and accounted for 28 per cent of BBB scam tracker reports.


The BBB has put out the following tips to help foil job scams:

  • Always be wary of work-from-home, package reshipment and secret shopper positions as well as any job with a generic title such as caregiver, administrative assistant or customer service rep.
  • If the job posting is for a well-known brand, check the real company's job page to see if the position is posted there.
  • Any pressure to sign or onboard is a red flag as legitimate companies will understand that employment choices are big decisions.
  • Watch out for on-the-spot job offers. A real company will want to talk to a candidate before hiring.
  • Be careful if a company promises you great opportunities under the condition that you pay for coaching, training, certifications or directories.
  • Never deposit unexpected or fishy cheques. 
  • Be cautious sharing any kind of personal information (including your banking and credit cards) or accepting any kind of pre-payment.
  • Get all details and contracts in writing. 


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