Americans lost a record $68 million to job & business opportunities scams in 2022 Q1

Edward G. | June 07, 2022

Data analyzed by Atlas VPN shows that US citizens lost over $68.3 million to various job and business offer scams in the first quarter of 2022.

The business and job opportunities fraud category includes offers for work-at-home jobs, like stuffing envelopes or processing medical claims, multi-level marketing schemes, job scams, job listings, employment services, inventions or idea promotions, and business opportunities.

The figures were extracted from a public database of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). US Citizens can submit fraud reports to the FTC for further investigation. The FTC shares this data to inform the nation about the state of the cybercrime landscape in the US.

The graph below represents total losses to job and business offer scams on a quarterly basis since the start of 2018.

All in all, US citizens have lost $701.4 million to bogus job and business opportunities since 2018. We will dissect the data into smaller increments to better understand this fraud type.

To start, criminals swindled $17.7 million from unsuspecting victims in 2018 Q1, which comes out to around $197 thousand lost daily. These damages were a result of 1,969 scams with a median loss of $1,036.

In contrast, Americans lost $68.3 million or nearly $759 thousand daily throughout the first quarter of 2022, which represents a growth of 285% over 2018 Q1. The FTC received 5,999 reports indicating a loss, with the median loss standing at $1,950.

Yet the significant upsurge in business and job opportunities scams started in 2021 Q4, where total losses amounted to $62.5 million, or an average of $680 thousand per day, a growth of 29% over 2021 Q3. The median loss was $2,000, while the number of reports totaled 6,353.

The FTC notes that scammers advertise fake jobs in the newspapers, online, or even on signs, posters, and flyers.

Even though criminals offer a lofty job with lots of money and opportunities to work from home, the catch is that they make you pay them before they help you. If you decide to pay, you will be left without a job and with little to no hope of getting your money back since fraudsters often ask for payments via bank transfer or other methods that don’t offer chargebacks and tracking down the money sent is difficult.

The basic scheme is similar to business opportunity scams, but these can easily lead to significantly higher losses than a job offer. In 2020, LinkedIn-related phishing scams had the highest open rate. So, people are naturally interested in new job opportunities. In Q1 2022, LinkedIn users received 52% of all phishing attacks.

Avoid job and business scams

  • Dealing with someone who promises you a job is an immediate red flag, especially if you don’t know that individual personally.
  • Paying for job information in advance is not a good idea, even if a money-back guarantee is offered. Do not interact with anyone who tells you that you must move quickly.
  • Do not interact with anyone who tells you that you must act quickly.
  • Ignore promises of earning thousands of dollars from the comfort of your own home. Those assurances are false.
  • Business offers that land in your inbox or you see online are more than likely fraudulent. Always stay vigilant.
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Edward G.

Edward G.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. My mission is to scan the ever-evolving cybercrime landscape to inform the public about the latest threats.



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