A Shameful Job Scam
I am breaking away from my usual Series of Posts on Digital Transformation this week to write about a Job scam that has recently come to my attention.
There are scam everywhere these days - with the recent OCBC Bank scam being the most visible across the press and news outlets. I commend OCBC for stepping forward to help the victims. However, it has now come to my attention that such scams are very prevalent and many thousands more are becoming victims to similar but not very sophisticated scams.
In this post I will publicly share details of an ongoing scam that uses our company name - Construct Digital, to dupe innocent victims into giving up their previous and hard-earned cash with a Job scam.
I don't have all the details of exactly how the victims are selected by the scammers, but suffice to say they are clearly targeting people who are desperate for work and an additional income stream to get thru these tough times.
The Initial Shock
We first became aware of this scam on the 27th of January when 2 men arrived at our office claiming that they were sent to my office to collect Movie Tickets. At that point, we did not think much of it, but nevertheless proceeded to make a Police Report regarding the scam with all the information we had at that time.
I hoped that would be the end of this, but over the CNY break, I received a number of messages thru our official Instagram and Facebook channels asking about the validity of Job Offers they had been receiving. A number of these people had even been duped into transferring money to the scammers.
The Scam Mechanism
So how does this scam work? I managed to collect a few screenshots from Victims and this is what we have surmised. It usually starts with a Telegram or Whatsapp message from an "External Recruiter from Randstad Singapore Recruitment" who claims to be representing Construct Digital.
The advertised job is meant to be an online task to generate fake review movies - which as is sounds dodgy as hell. We never work with clients to generate false reviews as we feel this is an unethical marketing practice. But let's assume that one might get taken in by such a task, especially if you are being promised $1600/month for spending less than 10 mins a day reviewing movies.
After this initial recruitment message, a supposed "Representative" of our Company reaches out to the Victim over WhatsApp to send instructions on signing up for the job, including falsely identifying themselves as an Employee of Construct Digital.
From this point, the victims are given login details to an online platform with a URL that looks like our own website URL - but with an irregular .top TLD domain name. I wont provide a link to the website as I don't want to signal to google that that scam website is in any way related to our company, but the below image shows details of these instructions and a screenshot of the very poorly put together scam website.
Deposit Money to start
Once the victim signs up, they are then asked to deposit a small sum of Money (SGD$100) into the platform via PayNow to a Singapore based bank-account. This money is supposedly required in order for the victim to "purchase tickets" on the platform which will then help increase the ratings of the movie.
A Victim who wrote to us via email explained that as she was going thru the process of reviewing the movies, the system prompted her with a negative balance in her account and required her to deposit an additional top up of $389. Shortly after she was asked to make another top-up of $809, and finally $2050. This is the point at which she suspected this to be a scam and wrote in via Whatsapp to the "Customer Service Officer" requesting to deactivate her account. But the scammer refused to do so insisting that she should continue to do the top-up in order to finish her assigned tickets. She was told that the system does not allow any deactivation until all the tickets are sold.
On hind-sight this might look like a silly scam that people should be able to see right thru. And although I am inclined to think likewise, I don't believe we should be pointing any fingers at the victims. These are just regular honest Joes trying to make their way thru life and although its a shame that they fell victim to this scam, I am squarely focused on helping to catch and punish the perpetrators of this crime, who have not only stolen the victim's money, but also brought disrepute and embarrassment to our legitimate business.
Word to the Wise
I am sharing this information to help any future victims of this scam and to ensure our good name is not dragged thru the mud with this scam.
I am no expert at such scams but I think the basic rules of trying to verify the authenticity of any such Job offer is very important. I believe many of the Victims had tried calling our officially listed phone number to verify this but as we are all Working from Home, we have not been able to answer most of these call.
Good luck and stay safe.