FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Online job scam losses have skyrocketed with the losses up 250% compared to last year. In the Central Valley, hundreds of Bitwise employees are scrambling after being furloughed by the company last week.

Those employees, college graduates, and job hunters looking for future opportunities, but Central California BBB President Blair Looney warns them to watch out.

“Well, when you are in the anxiety of people that have been laid off their last paycheck has not been cleared how are they going to buy rent. how are they going to buy food that is going to make them desperate to the first offer that comes along,” said Looney.

The BBB reported in just the first three months of 2023, job scam losses were up to $840,000 nationwide, which is a 250% rise from last year. Job seekers aged 18-34 were at the highest risk.

“People are looking for them online. Approach them online and many times those jobs are not real jobs,” said Looney.

Looney’s tips to avoid job scams include:

  • Do your research on the company
  • Be wary of cold calls, texts, or social media messages
  • Watch for red flags like higher-than-average pay
  • Never pay a fee to get a job

“if you have to pay for a job you are going to be scammed,” said Looney.

With the financial fallout of Bitwise, it is not just job hunters who have to beware but also those helping these employees out.  

While generosity is always a good thing, several donation sites have been set up. Before hitting send, verify the link is legit and not a con artist on the other side of the screen.

“We don’t need to have the people who lost their job losing money. And have those of us in the community losing our money. Having a double whammy to the whole thing,” said Looney.

More information from the Better Business Bureau on how to avoid these scams can be found by clicking here.

If you would like to contribute to the Bitwise employee GoFundMe, you can click here.