BBB warns shelter-in-place consumers of online scammers


Typing on laptop

AUSTIN (KXAN)  — The Better Business Bureau reports that consumers transitioning from the office setting to home are more vulnerable to online scams.

The bureau says to look out for IT scams when working from home. The lack of support leads people to try and solve things themselves leading to potential scams.

Another concern for employees is the business email compromise scam. Scammers will often impersonate a boss or employer to request large payments to “vendors.”

People who recently lost their jobs should also be careful not to fall for the “work from home” scam. The bureau says to keep an eye out for things like secret shopper openings and fraudulent job opportunities.

A job commonly advertised for employment scams are repackaging and shipping items with the promise of reimbursement.

“Many consumers fall victim to reshipping scams due to the promise of high hourly wages and the ability to work from home,” the BBB says. “Texas consumers reported reshipping scams to BBB Scam Tracker in early March, losing $1,000 and $1,905 each.”

While working from home the BBB recommends following these steps to keep yourself safe:

  • Be aware of unusual procedures. Job offers without interviews are a red flag of employment scams, as well as employers that overpay you and ask you to wire back the difference. You should watch out for companies that promise opportunities or high income if you pay them for training.
  • Check official job postings. Scammers often use emails, social media or online job boards to reach targets. If a job posting seems too good to be true, go to the company’s or employer’s website and check their career page directly. If a website is charging you for information about a job opening, it is probably a scam.
  • Set up work-from-home IT policies. If your employees are moving to home offices, establish a plan to help them with technical problems they may face. Instruct them on who they should contact, and who to avoid, for tech support. A plan can protect your employees from having their personal and professional information compromised.
  • Maintain office billing policies at home. One of the best ways to combat business email compromise scams is to set a policy requiring employees to confirm payment requests in person or over the phone, rather than over email. If the employees that handle billing are working from home, have them maintain these policies by calling to confirm any payment requests made by email.
  • Review safety practices with employees. As your employees are working from home, remind them of the best practices to avoid scams. Practices such as avoiding clicking on pop-ups or links in unsolicited emails. Make sure they know tech support professionals would never call them unless they had requested assistance first.

For more information on scammers, or if you think you may have been a victim, visit BBB’s website.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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