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Better Business Bureau warns of recent spike in employment scams

Better Business Bureau warns of employment scams
Better Business Bureau warns of employment scams 02:27

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In the first three months of 2023, the Better Business Bureau said its scam tracker saw reported job scam losses of $840,000, which is up 250 percent from last year.

Those impacted include a man from Pitcairn who was scammed out of thousands of dollars. 

Back in March, Anthony Pizzuto said he was looking for a change of pace. He found a customer service job listed on LinkedIn and Indeed for Bechtle, a reputable technology company based in Germany.

The hiring process moved fast, but when it came time for the interview he said something was off.

"The day we were set for the interview, the Zoom chat wasn't working," said Pizzuto.

He never saw the alleged recruiter because the interview continued by message. Pizzuto got the job and was sent a $4,900 check from the employer, which initially cleared, to cover work-from-home supplies, all of which he said were purchased from sellers the employer suggested.

The transactions happened through Venmo and PayPal, which was the preferred payment method, according to Pizzuto. The next day, the check he received to buy the items was pulled by the bank for being fraudulent.

"I pretty much knew at that point that it wasn't a mistake from my bank. The red flags were lining up, and I got scammed," said Pizzuto.

Caitlin Driscoll, the PR director for the Better Business Bureau of Western Pennsylvania, said, "The average loss per individual is over $1,500."

The BBB said younger people, especially people fresh out of college, are being targeted by this scam. The BBB shared these tips with job seekers:

  • Research companies offering jobs at Search for what others are saying about their experience with the company.
  • Find a number on the business' website and call to confirm the job or offer is real.
  • Check the email address to ensure that it is connected to the company and not a personal Gmail or Yahoo address.
  • Be cautious about providing personal information to unverified recruiters and online applications.
  • Research the person who contacted you. A quick online search should reveal if they work for the company they claim to represent.
  • Don't pay for a job and watch out for overpayment scams. Many job scams involve sending fake checks with extra funds.
  • If you are offered a job without a formal interview that has excellent pay and benefits, it's likely a scam.
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