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Gig Economy Workers Scam

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Gig Economy Workers Scam

1/4/2021

With much of the economy still shut down due to the Coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans are turning to gig economy apps such as Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and others to help make ends meet. With the increasing popularity of these apps comes an increased risk of scammers using them to take advantage of you and obtain your personal information. In an article on fraud.org, there are two types of these scams that have begun circulating.

  • Instacart premium job scam. Instacart is a service where consumers are connected with workers (sometimes confusedly called shoppers), who are paid to do your grocery shopping for you. Workers scan the app for orders (they call them batches) and choose ones they would like to fulfill. Bigger batches in theory tend to be more expensive, resulting in bigger tips for the shopper. Seeing this opportunity, scammers have started advertising on social media that they can get shoppers access to premium jobs with big tips in exchange for an upfront fee. If you are promised a big delivery and tip for an upfront fee, consider that a red flag as they could be scamming you out of money.
  • Cash out phishing leads to lost pay. Many gig economy jobs offer their workers a pay system where they can cash out their earnings directly into their bank account or onto prepaid debit cards. Scammers are exploiting this system by calling and pretending to be a representative of the app. The imposter will then send you a text message or email with a link for you to open, which then takes you to a legitimate looking website, but it's actually a phishing website. Once the scammer obtains that information, they can change the bank account information of where your pay goes – leaving you without income. Companies like GrubHub and Doordash have implemented waiting periods when changing bank information as a way to prevent this from happening. However, this can still leave workers who don't cash out often at risk of losing their pay.

You can read the full article at fraud.org. If you suspect that you have become a victim of a scam, report it to the police and your financial institution immediately. You can file a complaint at fraud.org via their secure online complaint form.



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