Online Job Scams: Fake Jobs Costing Victims Thousands of Dollars



Online job scams are at an all-time high. Companies offering salaries as high as US$4,000 are luring thousands of victims every month.

So, if you are a job seeker, this is the article you don’t want to miss.

Online Jobs Scams: Too Good to Be True Jobs

Jasmine Robinson, a job seeker from Long Island, N.Y., was on cloud nine when she cleared the interview for her ‘dream job.’ First, a company named Obsidian Entertainment offered a payment of $55 an hour. Next came a check for $8,000. Supposedly, to buy work-from-home equipment for better productivity.

But, there was something fishy. From applying for the job to onboarding, everything was moving really quickly. Though the company had many documents to show its ‘legitimacy,’ Jasmine couldn’t take a chance.

So, she researched, and all her suspicion proved true. The job was a scam. The scammers were luring victims by offering a high-paying online job and an $8000 joining bonus. However, as soon as they get the victim’s bank and card details, they withdraw all their savings.

Jasmine was amongst the lucky few to avert the danger. But, in fear of being scammed, she had to deactivate her card and bank account.

A similar large-scale ‘pig butchering’ case was brought to light earlier this month. Fake profiles of over a thousand Chinese SpaceX engineers on LinkedIn scammed millions of dollars.

Over $58.5 million Lost in Job Scam in the First Half of 2022

With over 3,500 cases reported and over $58.5 million lost, job scams have topped the list of top 10 online scams list issued by The Straits Times. Followed by phishing, e-commerce, and investment scams accounting for 74.5% of all online scams in the first half of 2022.

“These (online job) scammers are typically part of organized criminal groups and run sophisticated transnational operations which are not easy to detect or dismantle.”

Singapore Police

The number was significantly higher compared to 2021, during the same period. While some fraudsters scam victims for their personal information, many also hire people for fake data entry jobs or something shady, like reshipping expensive items purchased via stolen credit cards.

How do the Fake Jobs Trap You?

Scammers use multiple fraudulent ways to trap victims in their online job scams. The most popular techniques used include:

Fake Website

Everyone wants some source of extra income, and we turn to Google in our search for the perfect online jobs. The scammers know this, so they build a strong website with the best SEO tactics to outrank genuine websites on search engines and establish authenticity.

Fake Job Listings

All the verified job listing portals, like Monster, Indeed, etc., ask you to submit all the information about your schooling, address, DOB, employment history, and more. However, many scammers can retrieve all your data from these portals.

These scammers usually target victims from tier 2-3 cities or ones who don’t have much educational qualifications. Once they have your contact information, they’ll send you malicious links guaranteeing reputable online jobs or cash rewards.

The Re-Shipping Frauds

One of the online job scams is a re-shipping fraud occasionally promoted as a job opening for “quality control supervisors” or “virtual assistants.” After being employed, your responsibility is to receive packages at your house, repackage them, and frequently send them to an overseas location.

Typically, expensive products like gadgets are purchased, and the credit cards used to make the purchases are stolen. Reshipping scam victims claim they were not reimbursed.

Reselling expensive goods is a different kind of work-from-home fraud. Victims are informed that they may make money by purchasing name-brand goods below retail and reselling them for a profit. However, when customers pay for the goods, the shipment never materializes.

How to Detect the Fraud?

Data by the Federal Trade Commission highlights that Americans have incurred a loss of over $68 million due to job scams in the first quarter of 2022. And as employment scams get more sophisticated, job seekers need to be vigilant when searching for any new opportunity.

Here are some red flags to detect fraud jobs:

  • Upfront Fees or Payment: Companies ask for payment for software installation, company laptops, or even creating credit reports before starting any work.
  • Week Business Model: Unable to justify the business model, how the company makes a profit, or what value the business produces (most common for data entry jobs)
  • Too Good to be True: Significantly high payments for negligible effort
  • No Qualification Check: Similar to the case of Jasmines, the recruiter is ready to hire candidates with little to no qualification checks.
  • Fake Attempt to Build Authenticity: When the recruiter sends you evidence to prove their legitimacy, for example, their corporation certificate, CIN number, payment proof, etc.

Online Job Scams: Be Viginalt, Stay Safe

With the evolving workplaces and rise in online work opportunities, the threat of job scams is increasing. Especially now, when the world economy is under a looming recession and unemployment is at an all-time high.

But not if you analyze every opportunity keenly, ask the right questions, and do all the safety checks before handing over your personal and bank details.

Therefore, always be vigilant for fake jobs and never send money or reveal personal financial information during the hiring process. And, if in doubt, run the staffing agency or company through Better Business Bureau‘s directory.


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