New year, new job? Beware of scammers

3 January 2023

Jobseekers are being urged to watch out for scammers, with new Scamwatch figures revealing Australians lost over $8.7 million to recruitment scams in 2022.

The ACCC’s Scamwatch is warning young people in particular, to protect their personal information when applying for jobs and to beware of job offers made through social media platforms or messaging services such as Whatsapp.

“Thousands of young Australians have finished school and graduated from university, with high-hopes about their future careers and the intention to look for work in the new year. Unfortunately, they are being targeted by scammers,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“We know younger people are particularly vulnerable, with Australians aged between 25 and 44 reporting the biggest losses to job scams.”

“If you are job hunting and you are offered work that requires little effort for a big financial reward it is most likely a scam. This might include repeatedly clicking a button on a website or app to purchase products or submit reviews.”

There have been more than 3,194 reports of job scams made to Scamwatch in the past year, and many of the victims were lured on the promise of making money quickly.

Scammers will often ask for a payment in exchange for a guaranteed income. They pretend to be hiring on behalf of high-profile companies and online shopping platforms and impersonate well-known recruitment agencies.

“In the final months of 2022, we saw a significant uptick in reports and losses associated with recruitment scams and we are concerned these scammers will continue to ramp up their efforts as people look for work in the new year,” Ms Rickard said.

“With many Australians looking to make the most of a highly competitive job market, we are urging jobseekers to be wary of opportunities that seem too good to be true. Never make a payment or upfront investment to secure a job. If you think you’ve been scammed, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.”

Top tips for avoiding scams:

  • Stop – take your time before giving money or personal information.
  • Think – ask yourself if the message or call could be fake?
  • Protect – act quickly if something feels wrong. Contact your bank and report scams to Scamwatch.

Protect yourself against recruitment scams:

  • Never send money or give your personal information, credit card, online bank or cryptocurrency account details to anyone you don’t know, especially if you’ve only met them online, through email or over the phone.
  • Avoid any arrangement that asks for up-front payment via bank transfer, PayID or cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
  • Be suspicious if the role is offered to you without an interview, or discussion about your experience, suitability and references.
  • Be cautious of recruiters that contact you via encrypted message platforms like WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram. These platforms are commonly used by scammers.
  • Know who you are dealing with. Research the recruiter and the business or individual offering the position. Contact the recruitment agency via phone numbers sourced from an independent internet search.
  • Don’t be pressured to act quickly. A legitimate offer will not require you to make an immediate decision. If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Don’t trust the legitimacy of a job ad just because it appears on a trusted platform or website – scammers post fake ads too. If you come across a scammer, report it to the platform or agency.
  • Don’t take payment or rewards to recruit other people into a scheme.
  • Don’t transfer money, make purchases, or receive packages on behalf of someone else, you could be committing a criminal offence like money laundering.
  • Protect your personal information. Only give your information to legitimate recruitment firms and ensure you understand their privacy policy. Be careful how much personal information you put in your resume such as your physical address or date of birth.
  • Remember to update passwords to your online accounts regularly and use strong passwords or passphrases.

Background

The ACCC’s Scamwatch continues to work with other government agencies, law enforcement and the private sector to share intelligence, disrupt scams, advocate for consumers and raise awareness in the community.

In the October budget, the ACCC received seed funding from the government to scope and plan for a new National Anti-Scams Centre to support the community in the fight against scams.

If you have experienced cybercrime and lost money online, you can report to police via ReportCyber.

If you have given personal information to a scammer contact IDCARE.

Australians, regardless of whether they have lost money, are encouraged to report scams and learn more about how to get help on the Scamwatch website scamwatch.gov.au. Follow Scamwatch on Twitter or subscribe to radar alerts.

For crisis support to help with emotional distress about scams contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or access support via the online chat between 7pm and midnight www.lifeline.org.au. Beyond Blue also provides support for anxiety and depression 1300 22 4636 or chat online www.beyondblue.org.au.

Release number: 
01/23
ACCC Infocentre: 

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Media enquiries: 
Media Team - 1300 138 917, media@accc.gov.au

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