Con Me if You Can: Looking for Jobs Online? Beware of This 8-Step Scam | News18 Investigation

   2023-03-17 06:03

As per the Delhi Police, nearly 11,000 people have been scammed across India and their money siphoned off using a shell company via offshore crypto exchanges. (Getty Images)

As per the Delhi Police, nearly 11,000 people have been scammed across India and their money siphoned off using a shell company via offshore crypto exchanges. (Getty Images)

Amid mass layoffs and post-pandemic job market slump, cyber criminals have set up shop to bait victims with lucrative job offers and reel them in into disclosing sensitive information. Here’s how you can protect yourself

After Chinese loan traps and crypto-currency scams, another cyber fraud has picked up speed to dupe desperate job seekers into emptying their bank accounts. Amid mass layoffs and post-pandemic job market slump, cyber criminals have set up shop to bait victims with lucrative job offers and reel them in into disclosing sensitive information.



The Delhi Police had busted a gang operating along these lines recently wherein the pan-India job racket was allegedly being run in connivance with a Chinese module. Three men were arrested following raids in Delhi, Gurgaon and Fatehabad for allegedly running a pan-India online part-time job racket in the name of Amazon. According to the police, the syndicate’s suspected mastermind operated from Georgia and a base in Dubai.

The syndicate allegedly created a fictitious website designed by China-based developers. Its link was shared through a Telegram ID whose IP address was also traced to China. The module was formed and modulated from China.

“The server where the website was hosted was in China and mobiles numbers were also from China. Involvement of China cannot be denied in these matters,” said DCP Devesh Kumar Mahla, Delhi Police.

So how does the scam work? According to the police, it’s an eight-step con.

  • Step 1: Fake Website | Fake or duplicate websites are created in such a way that they appear to be genuine and anyone can be easily deceived.
  • Step 2: Social Media Promotions | The jobs are promoted on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube with the promise of big pay packages. The fraudsters get millions of paid likes, ratings and reviews through digital marketing to convince victims.
  • Step 3: AI Tools to Target Job Seekers | Artificial intelligence is also used to push pop-up ads on people’s screens, advertising online jobs or work-from-home options. Interested parties are asked to establish contact.
  • Step 4: User Assigned to Sell a Product | Once the victim is convinced, they are contacted via apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. Users are then assigned the task of selling or purchasing products and services for a company.
  • Step 5: Victim Told to Create Work ID | Victims are asked to create a work ID on the website. An e-wallet is designed where the user can see various options like balance, tasks, order, withdrawal, selling/flagging of products.
  • Step 6: Earnings Start Reflecting on e-Waller | Users get carried away when they see that the product or service is sold out and the money reflects as balance in their wallet. But in reality, they have been conned by people who have complete control over the website and can make modifications in users’ accounts.
  • Step 7: Victim is Unable to Withdraw Money from e-Wallet | When the victims try to withdraw money, they are shown remaining tasks and asked to recharge their wallet with half the value of the items to be sold.
  • Step 8: Website Disappears, Con Complete | In the end, the website disappears without a trace and the con is successful.

As per the Delhi Police, nearly 11,000 people have been scammed across India and their money siphoned off using a shell company via offshore crypto exchanges.

News18 spoke to the victim of one such scam. “The conman contacted me through WhatsApp and asked me if I was interested in doing a part-time job and I said yes. Then he shared a link and asked me to create an account. After that, he asked me to pay some nominal charges to register. In the beginning, I earned a small amount but kept paying more to earn more. In the end, I realised that it’s a scam and lost over Rs 1 lakh,” the person said on condition of anonymity.

So how to protect yourself from these cyber scams? A simple checklist goes a long way.

  • Use only verified apps and websites
  • Do not answer any suspicious phone calls or emails
  • Always double check the authenticity of a company
  • Don’t pay the price for the promise of a job. If it’s too good to be true, it mostly isn’t true

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