SPOKANE, Wash. — If someone calls you promising you a job with Amazon, you may want to hang up. A robo call is circulating in the Inland Northwest at the same time legitimate Amazon recruiters are hiring people for Spokane's new fulfillment center.
The 600,000-square foot Amazon fulfillment center will be built near the Spokane International Airport. The company promises to bring more than 1,500 new jobs are coming, plus opportunities to work from home.
The addition of new jobs is welcome news for job-seekers, but also for scammers.
"If there's a new organization coming into town, like Amazon, there's a lot of scammers that get out there. 'Hey this is an opportunity to be able to get out there and potentially scam people with other jobs or even online purchase scams,'" said Tyler Russell with the Better Business Bureau Northwest Pacific.
The BBB said they've received at least two complaints involving Amazon employment scams in the Spokane area, but suspect there are many that are unreported.
A KREM 2 producer received one of the robo calls about a "work-from-home" job with Amazon.
"We do retail recruitment and need people in your area to work online with Amazon, hourly pay starts at $27," the scammer said.
The message sounds legitimate right? The person tells people to go to "AmazonResource.Org," a website that sounds real too, but it's not.
Our KREM 2 pop-up blocker flagged the website because it likely contains viruses. Before we closed the window we noticed a lot of pop ups, spelling errors and no connection to Amazon.
Then, we decided to call the number left on the voicemail and yet again, more red flags. This is what the automated message said when we called.
"For this job you will work with sites like Amazon and Ebay who are putting traditional retail stores out of business, starting hourly pay is $23 an hour, but some of our hires are making up to $35," it said.
The scammer instructed us to go to another bogus website, which also had several pop-ups and fake information.
Employment scams like these are common when new companies come into town. They often try to get you to enter personal information such as your social security number or even worse, convince YOU to pay to join the company.
It can be difficult to tell what's real when searching for a job online. The BBB said do your research, check the company's official website to see if they are actually hiring and don't give out personal information right away.
"Can you wire us this money? Can you get gift cards? If someone is asking you to be able to have a job and they want you to send them gift cards or wire them money, that's a huge red flag," Russell said.
We dug into the numbers and learned Amazon employment scams aren't unique to the Inland Northwest.
Nearly, 700 fake Amazon job scams have been reported to the Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker.
We reached out to Amazon, a spokesperson said:
"We are in touch daily with thousands of people who are interested in working at Amazon. Our recruiters who contact candidates — whether it be via text, call, or email—will never ask for banking information, or request an enrollment fee. We encourage those who think they may have been contacted by a fraudulent source offering a job on behalf of Amazon to report it via http://www.amazondelivers.jobs/contactus. We actively investigate reported employment scams, and as a result, dozens of fraudulent recruiting websites have been taken down. We're also assisting federal law enforcement in their efforts to investigate and prosecute perpetrators."
Employment scams came in on top as the most common scam in 2018. These types of scam resulted in more than $50,000 lost in Eastern Washington alone.