July is Military Consumer Month, which is a perfect time to reflect on how the marketplace affects service members and their families. Last year, BBB released the Military Consumers and Marketplace Trust Report, which revealed military consumers report more scams and more money lost.
With the arrival of COVID-19, BBB launched a report investigating employment scams, the riskiest scam two years in a row. Layoffs and the need to work from home led to an increase in employment scams. Unfortunately, that means military consumers, especially military spouses and veterans, are disproportionally facing this difficulty.
On average, the civilian consumer lost $1,000 to employment scams. Service members lost a significantly higher amount at $1,680, military spouses lost $1,825 and veterans $1,905.
If you’re a service member, military spouse or veteran searching for employment, use these tips from your BBB to avoid scams:
Be aware of unusual procedures. Job offers without interviews are a red flag of employment scams, as well as employers that overpay and ask to wire back the difference. Take note of companies that promise opportunities or high income if you pay them for training.
Check official job postings. Scammers will often use emails, social media or online job boards to reach targets. They are also known to use actual company names, addresses and human resource contacts found on the internet. If a job posting seems too good to be true, go directly to the company website and check their career page directly. If a website is charging you for information about a job opening, it is probably a scam.
Educate yourself. Being aware of how a scam works is key in protecting yourself and your wallet. For example, some jobs, such as secret shoppers or caregivers, are more likely to be fronts for employment scams. You can visit BBB.org/ScamTracker to see what employment scams look like in your area.