Complete easy tasks to earn high commission? It’s probably a scam.
Job scams have claimed $6.5 million from 658 victims in a mere six months.
Five Types of Job Scams
Superintendent of Police Michelle Tay, the head of the Anti-Scam Centre, outlined the five types of job scams the centre has seen recently.
The scams usually follow this plotline: victims are convinced that they can earn commissions simply by completing tasks on websites or mobile apps.
At some point, the victims will be told that they need to transfer money to receive more tasks and get their payouts. Lured by the high commissions, the victims transfer the funds… where the scammers then disappear.
The first type of scam instructs its victims to download shady mobile apps, where they are tasked to transfer cryptocurrency funds into their “job accounts” and are promised commission for completing tasks.
They’ll realise that it’s a scam after they try, and fail, to withdraw the commission from their accounts.
The second type, which is a continuation of the first, sends warning letters claiming to be from local authorities to the victims of the first scam who try to quit and cash out.
The victims get scammed again into transferring even more money, fearing that they’ll face legal action.
The third and fourth types of scams are those that ask victims to market and sell movie tickets to earn high commission, much like the first type of scam.
The last type, and also the most recent and most dangerous one, involves a fake Shopee Pay app. The scammers get users to download a spoof of Shopee’s real digital wallet called ShopeePay, and trick them into transferring funds through the app into cryptocurrency wallets.
The real ShopeePay is only accessed through the real Shopee app, and it does not have a separate app for the digital wallet.
At least 11 people have lost more than a total of $50,000 in one month through this Shopee Pay scam.
Scams on the Rise
The pandemic brought about the rise of digital, contactless payments. While convenient, it has also enhanced scams, as scammers can now easily create fake bank accounts to move funds.
With scammers becoming more sophisticated and the number of victims increasing day by day, the authorities have turned to use technology to combat scams.
One example would be the Anti-Scam Centre adding robotic process automation to its anti-scam tools, which drives the Project Combat (Centralised Operational Messaging Bot Addressing Threats).
With automation, Project Combat is now able to send out targeted SMS advisories to select groups all at once, allowing the police to reach hundreds of people in just minutes. This has already conducted more than 6,900 interventions, as opposed to previously where it takes around 45 minutes to contact and warn just one person.
The automation has also freed up more time and resources for officers to handle other tasks like fund tracing.
Project Combat will soon be expanded to tackle investment scams as well, which operates in a similar fashion to job scams.
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