The Better Business Bureau is warning job seekers in B.C. of fake employment scams that result in thousands of dollars of losses.
Last December, the BBB heard from an international student living in Vancouver who applied to an online job advertisement for a remote data entry operator. As it turned out, the job was posted by a fraudster posing as an employee of Richmond-based company FairChild Group, the bureau reported in a press release Wednesday.
The student was asked to pay for close to $6,500 worth of computer equipment and did so via e-transfer, with the understanding they would be reimbursed.
But the cheques started to bounce from the bank and the student ended up finding the real employer and found the job they thought they had was not real.
Also troubling was the fact the scammer asked the student to share government-issued ID, proof of address, bank statements and banking information.
“Our BBB Investigations Specialist found that there was more than one incident where a job-seeker was lured into this same hiring ad and counterfeit website combo. It’s so unfortunate to hear about this kind of story, because this student was trying to make some income with a part-time job and they were thrown for a loop with this scam,” stated BBB Serving Mainland BC spokesperson Aaron Guillen.
The BBB Canadian Risk Report says employment scams are the fifth riskiest scam in 2022, behind home improvements, cryptocurrency, advance fee loan and investment scams, which rank first to fourth, respectively.
Employment scams are the second most costliest, as they tend to lose a person $3,000, on average. Only investment scams do more damage, with an average loss of $5,500.
On average, the bureau says one out of eight people who encountered the scam ended up falling for it and lost money.
People need to be wary of job offers that don’t require an interview, ask for upfront payments and charge a fee for applications, the bureau warns. The BBB advises people to also be cautious in sharing personal information.
“Online applications usually won’t ask you for your birthday, banking information, or proof of address until they actually offer you the job. According to Service Canada, you are not required by law to provide your SIN before you are hired. If you’re ever feeling unsure about the amount of information an application is asking you for, consider it a red flag and research the employer name and the word ‘scam’ to see if there are any reports involving job scams,” the organization said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the Richmond-based company as Fairfield Media.