Queensland Police, Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force are warning the community to be vigilant online, following investigations identifying criminals using social media to recruit people to unknowingly act as drug couriers.
A multi-agency investigation has identified that several Queensland residents were approached online about ‘courier roles’ or similar jobs after criminal drug syndicates created fake online profiles and infiltrated social media pages. “wanted job” on social media platforms to advertise to unsuspecting job seekers.
Investigators warn that international drug syndicates are turning to social media platforms to recruit job seekers, to unknowingly receive, store or transport international packages containing illicit drugs. In a failed drug smuggling attempt, investigators arrested a Brisbane man who believed he had accepted an online package delivery job offer for a construction company to transport 2 kilograms of methylamphetamine concealed in an international package . The man had been approached after posting a job search ad online and offered $250 for each delivery.
Detective Inspector Brad Phelps of the Drug and Serious Crime Group said while investigators are working with domestic and international partners to target drug traffickers overseas, community vigilance is a key prevention measure.
“This trend is not unique to Queensland and underscores that criminals will do anything they can for their own financial gain, including preying on vulnerable people with no regard for the consequences those found committing. transporting drugs may suffer, in particular by being the subject of a police investigation.
“As the police continue to work together with law enforcement partners and social media companies to prevent this crime and prevent the introduction of drugs into our communities, we urge the public to remain alert to these approaches and take steps to protect against them,” the detective said. said Inspector Phelps.
Ben Moses, acting superintendent of AFP’s Crime Northern Command, said the AFP and its partners would work hard to disrupt all levels of the drug trade and arrest anyone who tries to profit at the expense of the community in queensland.
“These cases show that no matter how criminals try to conceal or move their drugs, we will outsmart them,” he said.
“Regardless of how the couriers are recruited, the result is similar – organized crime syndicates get rid of these people when they are no longer useful, these criminals do not care who they hurt as they fill up pockets.
ABF Commander Pam Radin said the combined efforts of law enforcement across Australia were proving very effective in tackling this type of behavior – and the community needed to be aware of the penalties applicable in case of involvement.
“Strong penalties exist for involvement in drug trafficking. We want to work with the community and educate it before it comes to that, so people are aware of the dangers to themselves and others. The ABF will continue its determined efforts to detect and deter illegal importation attempts,” Commander Radin said.
Investigators encourage the community to remain vigilant by:
- Research any potential employer by conducting your own background checks to ensure that their contact information and offer are legitimate and legal. Perform your own independent checks, such as verifying the organisation’s contact details, their website and checking their ABN if they are based in Australia. A reverse image search a profile photo can also be a useful research tool.
- Be careful if the person or company offering a job is based overseas, as it is more difficult to verify if they are legitimate.
- Beware of anyone offering easy or lucrative money for minimal effort or little or no experience required.
- Beware of someone asking for bank details, driver’s license or other personal information online – don’t provide it.
- Discuss the job opportunity with your family or friends before applying.
If you have been the victim of a cybercrime, you can report it online at ReportCyber.