Western Australian residents looking for work have allegedly been duped by an elaborate employment scam and Ponzi scheme, claiming a total of $130,000 between 10 victims so far.
Job seekers are lured into the online scam through job advertisements, and a woman in the northern suburbs says it cost her all her life savings.
Struggling photographer Lynn Roberts was looking for her golden ticket when she was tricked.
“Anyway we had money issues and I thought this might be the answer to everything,” Ms Roberts said.
“It was all very elaborate, it was real, although with the amounts of money involved your head is like ‘this must be a scam’.”
The 51-year-old mother lost $5,000 on a website asking victims to pay between $300 and $8,000 in cryptocurrency for a subscription to work for the company.
They then perform daily tasks of making fake purchases and posting fake online reviews on sites such as Amazon and Kogan.
The victim attains a higher status and is better paid once the particular jobs are completed.
If you refer people and pay more in membership fees, more money is promised, but never delivered.
Consumer Protection Executive Director Tim Banfield warns people against getting caught up in elaborate but illegal schemes.
“Insensitive scammers target vulnerable people looking for work and lure them in with promises of easy money to do little work,” Mr Banfield said.
“Once they get hooked, comes the promise of greater returns once membership fees are paid and higher status is achieved.
“Some victims may receive feedback early in the process to give them confidence to invest more of their money.
“Avoid getting involved in this devious combination of employment scam and Ponzi scheme, even if recommended by a family member or friend who may themselves be an innocent victim.”
Here are some tips to fight this scam:
- Beware of plans or products that claim guaranteed income for very little work.
- Determine if the rewards you have been promised depend on product sales. If so, do the products have real value, are they sold at a reasonable price and do they correspond to real consumer demand?