In today’s time of technology, people all over the world are active on social media networking sites so it would not be surprising that you have never taken the help of social media networking sites to get a job.
But have you ever come across a WhatsApp Job Scam??
In today’s blog, we will talk about Job Scam which is targeting WhatsApp users through excellent job offers.
WhatsApp Job Scam: A message to Trap
The job scam starts with one of the job seekers through Bogus Job Offers on WhatsApp.
His name is Marc Bonvin, received a job text on WhatsApp, “Hi, I’m Amelia from Adecco Ltd. Would you be interested in flexible roles, may I share more details?”
Marc Bonvin, a macro analyst based in London, received a message on December 20, 2022, from the company Adecco Ltd. He was looking for a job, so he asked further for the job details.
Bonvin replied, “I knew this was a scam”. Amelia replied to him with a promise of offering him “big projects” and a generous salary paid through an encrypted wallet.
In October, he got another message, offering him job prospects.
Bonvin is one of the thousands of job seekers who were targeted by a WhatsApp Job Scam that has already collected approximately €100 million of thousands of victims across, according to AI cybersecurity firm CloudSEK.
While offering Job offers, there are a few world’s biggest recruitment firms like Reed and Hays, who have all been impersonated in this phishing scam.
A representative from Adecco Ltd said, “Please be aware that NO Adecco representative will ever request payment of any kind from a candidate”, Adecco is one of the companies impersonated in the WhatsApp Job Scam.
Keith Rosser, who holds leadership positions at Reed and JobsAware, says that a scam started in the UK in November 2022. By March 2023, it had become a major issue. JobsAware is a non-profit organization that works to protect the UK labor market.
As per the statement from Rosser, “”We’re receiving dozens of reports a day, specifically about WhatsApp-based scams copying the names of legitimate recruitment firms, both job boards and recruitment agencies,”.
JobsAware gets around 50 complaints daily. However, they estimate that only 5% of victims contact them. This suggests that roughly 1,000 people in the UK receive these scam texts every day.
OFCOM, the UK’s communications regulator, recently discovered that almost a third of people in Britain have come across fraudulent job advertisements. Keith Rosser thinks that most of these people were victims of a particular WhatsApp Job Scam.
Rosser is hopeful that the upcoming Online Safety Bill in the UK, along with a certification program planned by JobsAware, will reduce the number of job scams. However, he remains skeptical about the effectiveness of these measures.
A press manager from the London Police said “I’m afraid we aren’t able to assist with your request. We received a lot of media inquiries”, he also added, “We further investigated the case and looked out into the deep of phishing scam”.
How Does a WhatsApp Job Scam Take Place?
According to the statement, there are thousands of Britishers on WhatsApp who have all received job-offering texts through the messaging app with a bit changes. They received messages from various recruiters’ names such as Elaine to Amanda (always got a message from a woman recruited) and all numbers were linked from countries like Pakistan and the USA.
The main aim of the recruiters was to trap the job seekers into their false job offers which included flexible working hours with a good amount of salary package up to £300 (€344) per hour, in cryptocurrency.
What was good about this all was that people already knew that “they were dealing with WhatsApp Job Scam”. Therefore, some of them did not respond properly, some sent jokes, and some people did not reply but nobody knew where the scam took place.
According to the report, A reporter had already gotten two scam texts, one in August and another in September. However, the numbers used for these texts were no longer active. So, they reached out to a different WhatsApp number that was mentioned in a scam text received by another user on iMessage.
“Hi! I got a message from you for a job opportunity. Can you please tell me more about it? I’m interested,” texted the reporter. Later they were asked to share the screenshot of the text to make sure we were in touch with their “operational platform”.
In just three minutes, a person named Stella replied with multiple text messages that seemed to be copied and pasted. These texts contain the job description.
The job involved helping “Digital Logic sellers boost their product sales”. The tasks wouldn’t take more than an hour and if you finished them for five consecutive days, you’d get paid €750 in Tether, a cryptocurrency linked to the US dollar.
“Reddit, a site where people share news and stories, has many users who’ve been tricked by something called a ‘task scam’. In these scams, a website or app promises you can make money by doing simple things like watching a video or liking a post. But there’s a catch – you can only do a few tasks before they ask you to upgrade your account,” as explained by a Reddit moderator.
Pay money to get money
“In our job’s first week of training, we had to press a button to place orders and got paid 0.6% of the app’s price for each order. We had to order 45 apps, which included everything from Facebook to Pokémon Go, to finish our daily tasks.
According to Digital Logic’s platform, we made $40 (€38) in less than 15 minutes.
Stella, our contact person, said the tasks were a lot like clicking ads on websites and mobile games that pay you after you click and watch the ads.”
“After training for a week, we had to message a customer service person on Telegram to receive a surprise bonus of $30 (€29). This brought our account balance to $70 (€66). Stella, our contact, asked us to create a digital currency wallet to withdraw the money from Digital Logic’s website.”
“Stella explained that because their platform is used worldwide, they use a digital wallet to keep everyone’s money safe. She suggested we download Bitget, a popular platform for trading digital currencies. Stella also told us we needed to deposit $30 into our Digital Logic account to move on to the next set of tasks.
She explained that we needed to put money into the account because the product data was linked to the real-time data of the Digital Logic platform. This is why a deposit is needed to create real money flow data.”
She said that you need to work for five days in a row to get a basic pay of about €759.
Euronews Next contacted experts looking into this scam. They confirmed that Digital Logic is involved in a network of scams.
How can anyone fall into a scam?
Stuart McFadden, who started the company Refundee that helps recover money lost to fraud, said that most people who come to him for help are trying to find a job.
He explained that many people are urgently looking for work right now and there’s a lot of information on the internet about part-time jobs. People also prefer to work from home, so it feels more usual to have a job where you do tasks remotely and get paid for it, he said.
“The most common scam we see is cryptocurrency scams, and [task scams are] now the second most common scam we see,” he said.
The expert on refunds said that fraudsters would initially allow you to take out money to gain your trust and get you addicted.
He explained that it’s somewhat addictive because you think, ‘I’m just spending £30 (€35), and all I’m doing is these tasks and now I have £40 (€46)’. You witness it all happening in real time and everything seems to be going as you expected.
In truth, the money doesn’t actually move from cryptocurrency wallets to the accounts of workers. Instead, it ends up in the fraudsters’ accounts.
At first, the tasks only need you to put in a small amount of your own money – like the task Stella asked for. But as time passes, the scammers ask for more money, which makes the tasks more difficult to finish.
In a chat conversation, a company named Golden Egg, which is a client of Refundee asked for a deposit of more than £17,000 (€19,560) to complete the 38th task out of a total of 40 tasks. This deposit would supposedly allow the person to receive a salary of over £11,000 (€12,650).
An upset employee asked what would happen if they couldn’t deposit the money because it was too much. Stella, the customer service representative, responded by saying that they needed to finish all 40 tasks and then they could withdraw the money to their account in about 5 to 15 minutes.