Employment scams spike during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 4:56 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 18:02:25-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A surge in COVID-19 related scams is hitting Texas and targeting the most vulnerable people impacted by the pandemic.

"They take the opportunity to prey on people who are possibly looking for answers, resources, employment." Meza said.

Jason Meza is the regional director for the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in San Antonio and says employment scams are on the rise in South Texas.

"The whole nature of how the scam works, you have the opportunity to have a great income from the house, we'll send you materials and we'll send you money, and that's the con, they'll send a fake check."

But by the time that check bounces, the scammer is long gone and may already have your personal information.

"These scammers create phony agencies. They might even clone or mimic real jobs or real companies, posing as a recruiter trying to offer them work." he said. “Once they get you into a personal conversation or a hangout situation, the sky is the limit on what they can request from you.”

The other scam the BBB has seen an increase of in South Texas: pet scams.

"They're using the same photos over and over. The same stories over and over. You might see that same pet somewhere else being advertised for a different value or different part of the country," Meza said. "Typically, they don't get the pet for several days or they'll continue the scam saying the pet is stuck at the airport and we need you to provide funds."

In the months to come, people need to be aware of emails or phone calls offering fake COVID-19 tests and other resources.

"We do see some come through scam tracker where they were preyed upon with a fake test kit, a fake vaccine, a miracle cure -- even the lure of buying a face mask easy online."

Remember to think twice before you click.

"Now more than ever, double research everything that comes unsolicited. Talk to family and friends, get referrals. Do extra, extra homework during this time."

For more information on how to recognize and report scams click here.