Australians fleeced in surge of online employment scams

Job scams are on the rise and Australians are being warned to be wary, with losses since January this year reaching $20 million.

Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones says the National Anti-Scams Centre has reported an increase of over 740 per cent in employment scams in 2023.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in scammers impersonating genuine organisations and recruiters, contacting victims through job offers via WhatsApp or promoting jobs ads on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Tik Tok and Instagram,” he said on Monday.

Australia’s cost of living crisis is leading many people to take on second jobs in an effort to make ends meet, with many of the false offers advertised for roles that can be done at home.

Mr Jones said scammers are targeting job-seekers with lucrative offers to complete tasks, tricking unsuspecting victims into handing over their hard-earned money.

“They often help victims set up accounts on cryptocurrency platforms and get them to undertake training and tasks, before asking for a financial deposit with the promise of commissions or bonuses,” he said.

The government said students looking for part-time work and people seeking to flexibly earn some additional income are the main targets of scammers.

Signs to be alert for include job offers over messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, or social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok or Instagram.

Other red flags are offers of ‘guaranteed income’ or too-good-to-be-true rates of pay for simple task-based work online.

The fake roles are often game-like models that encourage people to earn more money by completing tasks, referring friends, and depositing money into an app.

One woman lost $40,000 after replying to a Facebook post offering part time work from home, while another paid $12,000 to scammers who also lured her in on social media.

People should contact their bank immediately if they think they have been scammed, and report it via the National Anti-scam Centre.

National Debt Helpline: 1800 007 007 or access live chat via their website – Scamwatch


Kathryn Magann
(Australian Associated Press)


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