Job seekers fleeced by work from home scam

People seeking jobs with flexible work conditions such as working from home, have fallen foul of an employment scam that has so far claimed 20 victims in Western Australia who reported losing a total of $510,000.

The largest individual loss reported to WA ScamNet at Consumer Protection from March 2023 to June 2023 was $194,151 with the lowest being $350. 

The victims were lured into the scam through social media or encrypted message platforms like WhatsApp or Telegram, offering easy employment online with no experience needed and the added benefit of working from home. 

Employment scam message

The fake job requires people to perform various tasks for a commission, such as clicking on links to place fake reviews, or shopping online on various websites to bolster a business’ online profile. 

However, to secure the job, victims are deceived into investing a substantial amount of money in crypto currency with the false promise of high returns. 

Once a victim hands over personal identification to set up an account and invest a fee, they soon realise there won’t be any payment or promised return and the scammers then begin a harassment campaign for further payments.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Trish Blake has urged the public to be suspicious of job opportunities offered by unknown people on social media, message platforms or email. 

“It is important to do your research on a business before engaging, including checking if there is a physical street address,” Ms Blake said.

“It is also important to protect our identities online with scammers becoming much harder to spot – don’t hand over your personal identification to anyone you meet online.

“Never provide payment upfront, especially by crypto currency which is not reversible, you should never have to pay a fee to secure employment or provide a service.

“Practice the pause, and think… could this be a scam? If it is too good to be true, it probably is.”

More information on employment scams is available on the WA ScamNet website where online scam reports can be lodged. Enquiries can be made by calling 1300 30 40 54. If you are a victim of an employment scam, report it to your financial institution, Australian Cyber Security Centre and IDCARE.