It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic caused a huge increase in the cases of fraud, especially online-based fraud and scams. 25-year-old Ashley from Canada found out about this the hard way when she used career sites online to look for jobs in sales, marketing, and coordination after losing her position as a French program coordinator due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What looked like a remote job with Vancouver tech company Gux-IT turned out to be something she wasn?t prepared for.
Wary of online scams despite being thrilled with the prospect of a good work from home job, Ashley checked Gux-IT?s website to find out if the vacancy was legitimate, making sure to thoroughly read through the various pages of the website. She recalls that she spoke on the phone with someone who was using a B.C. area code and who emailed her from what looks like Gux-IT?s email addresses. Ashley thought that she did everything to make sure that the job is legitimate, however, everything about it was fake. The Gux-IT website that she checked was fake and was copied by fraudsters from a foreign incorporated company that is not connected to them in any way.
Watch Out for Job Scams
What happened to Ashley can happen to anyone. Job scams are increasingly becoming common according to Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre senior RCMP intelligence analyst Jeff Thomson. Proof of this is that we are only a little over half the year and the reported cases for 2020 is already more than 2,300; close to the total cases of about 2,400 reported for the whole year of 2019. Fraudsters are taking advantage knowing that many people lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
What is the Purpose for These Fake Jobs?
Fraudsters are creating fraudulent websites pretending to be fake Canadian companies to attract job seekers that they can use to transfer money into cryptocurrency. In Ashley?s case, the fraudsters hired her and got her details. During her first day, they tasked her to help the IT department by advising them and buying a software on their behalf. She was told to buy domains and to use a cryptocurrency called Ethereum. They transferred money to her account and told her to withdraw their e-transfer and then deposit the amount to a cryptocurrency wallet. Luckily, she was able to save screenshots of her Telegram conversation with the fraudsters and contacted her Scotiabank branch to alert her if there is anything suspicious. After the transfer arrived, she withdrew it and deposited to the cryptocurrency wallet. Later that day, she found out that the company?s address is fake and that everything was just an elaborate cash-out scam designed to launder money and throw law enforcement off their tracks. If she didn?t have records that this was her first day on the fake job, the law could view her as an accomplice for fraud and she could be held responsible for the crimes perpetrated by the scammers.
Avoid Online Job Scams
The first rule of thumb is that if something is too good to good to be true, it is best to take extra precaution and make sure that your bases are covered. If a company you did not apply to seeks you out, perform due diligence and see if they are who they say they are both online and offline. Keep a record of everything as well. If you need help performing a background check or think that there is something suspicious about a job you?ve been newly hired for, we can help you at Haywood Hunt. Our private investigators can get you the answers you need for your piece of mind. Contact us today.