Young people looking for work are most likely to be scam victims, BBB says

The Federal Trade Commission said Americans lost nearly $9 billion last year to scams.

A top scam targets people looking for work.

This summer, Edward Johnson said he was looking to make extra money and used a popular employment site to find a remote job with a known company.

He was sent a legitimate-looking offer letter with compensation and benefits.

“They had me fill out a W-4 form, they had me fill out confidentiality forms and everything,” Edward Johnson said.

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Johnson said he even went through a virtual training course.

But it was a scam, and the criminals used his banking information to steal a couple hundred dollars from his account.

“I thought I was thorough, it’s a legitimate company, but it was just an illegitimate person using their brand and using their name,” Johnson said.

Scams like this one target people of all ages but a new report finds younger Americans are more likely to become victims.

“We found in our latest study was that it’s 18- to 24-year-olds who are more at risk to fall for a scam. They’re more at risk to lose money to a scam. The number one scam that they’re falling for are employment scams,” Melanie McGovern said.

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McGovern is with the Better Business Bureau.

She said 18-24-year-olds are susceptible to internet-based scams.

“It’s always been a part of their lives. It’s not something where they’re thinking. Oh, this might not be real.”

Many of the riskiest scams for this age group involve virtual transactions that never require face-to-face contact. A major red flag is when someone asks you for money or personal information.

“Take a couple of minutes to search around, type the word scam next to the company name. See what pops up,” McGovern said.

An important step for anyone, no matter what their age.

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