ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KFVS) - The St. Louis Consumer Fraud Task Force (CFTF) is warning customers to be wary of work-from-home scams during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The task force reports they have received nearly 1,000 consumer complaints in reference to work-from-home scams.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) their scam tracker has received more than 700 employment scam reports since March 1.
For the past two years employment scams has topped the BBB’s list for the riskiest scams.
The CFTF offers the following advice for those looking to work from home:
- Pay attention to unusual procedures. Job offers without interviews are a red flag of employment scams, as well as employers that overpay and ask you 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 also may 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.
- Ask questions. If you want to take advantage of a work-from-home opportunity, you’ll need to do your research. The FTC’s Business Opportunity Rule has safeguards in place to make sure you have the information you need to tell whether a work-at-home opportunity is a risky business. Under the Rule, sellers have to give you a one-page disclosure document that offers key pieces of information about the opportunity. Use the information in the disclosure document to fact-check what the seller tells you. Get as much information as you can about the job before accepting the offer.
- Report the bad actors. You can report work-at-home scams to BBB ScamTracker, the FTC, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and your state’s attorney general.
To obtain information, or to report a scam, contact members of the Task Force:
- Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern and Southwest Missouri and Southern Illinois – (888) 996-3887
- Federal Trade Commission – 877-FTC-HELP (382-4357)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation – 314-589-2500
- Illinois Attorney General – 800-243-0618
- Illinois Secretary of State – Securities Department – 800-628-7937
- Missouri Attorney General – 800-392-8222
- St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department – 314-231-1212
- U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Missouri – 314-539-2200
- U.S. Postal Inspection Service – 877-876-2455
- U.S. Secret Service – 314-539-2238