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  • Help Wanted Ads – Why Employment Scams are On the Rise

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Nothing is worse than stressing about finding a job. The advent of internet postings such as Indeed and Kijiji have helped millions of Canadians find work on a full or part time basis. Unfortunately, these very same platforms have also allowed scammers to take an old trick and spin it into a disastrous employment opportunity have left hundreds broke and facing criminal charges.

We speak of Job Posting Scams, which are effective in they play on so many human anxieties. They offer work to individuals who may be desperate to find a job that matches their skillset. Better yet, they offer them part-time, lucrative work that requires almost no real effort while boosting the victim’s ego with dreams of big money and career opportunities.

These scams generally operate on posting sites seeking an individual for administrative work, support work, or as a “personal assistant”. Often the poster claims to be an investor, an entrepreneur, or a venture capitalist who needs help with their affairs. To keep the distant relationship alive, they often claim to work abroad, travel frequently, or have a disability (such as hearing loss) that prevents them from communicating in any way but by email.

The angle is that the scammer may ask the victim to handle money, such as cheques or hard cash. The victim is then asked to cash the check or deposit the money, wire the employer a large portion of it, and the victim may keep the remainder.

What makes this a scam is that the cheques are forged and invalid. Once your wire service or bank learns that the money isn’t real, you could lose nearly everything in your account. Furthermore, by cashing this cheque: you’re participating in fraud, albeit unknowingly. However, many victims of this scam have been charged as accomplices in these activities. The anonymous nature of the scammer allows them to avoid retribution from the law, escape, and continue to prey on other people.

There’s only one way to avoid being hoodwinked by a Job Posting scam. If someone contacts you and you suspect they might be running this operation: cease all contact immediately. You have no idea how much the scammer may know about you, so refrain from agitating or provoking them. Once the scammer realizes you aren’t taking the bait, they will invariably move on.

If you’ve been a victim of this type of fraud, Ontario Energy Group Consumer Watch urges you to seek legal counsel and report fraud whenever possible. You want to avoid all possible consequences for being unknowingly party to fraud, and being forthright in reporting can help clear you of wrongdoing. As this type of scam is so commonplace, it’s important to set the record straight.

“Good pay for a hard work day” is something to remember when looking for work. If it sounds too good to be true: it probably is. If someone is just offering you money to do a small amount of work, there’s likely some other angle at play.

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