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Warning: These fake job ads want you to help cyber criminals launder money

Don't be fooled by fake job ads into helping cyber criminals launder their illegally obtained money. (Photo: Getty)

Aussie job seekers need to watch out for fake employment ads on job seeker websites like Seek, Indeed and Jora that are potentially putting their personal details at risk.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre’s Stay Smart Online has warned about fake job ads that trick job hunters into transferring money to cyber criminals.

“The scammer posts legitimate looking job ads on official job seeker websites and asks applicants to transfer money as part of the job application process,” said Stay Smart Online.

“Cybercriminals use this method to launder money which is a process of hiding illegal money from authorities by passing it through a series of bank transfers back to the criminal.”

How do they do it?

Victims who fall for the scam are asked to:

  • Receive a payment of (illegally obtained) money from the scammer into their personal account, withdraw the cash, then deposit it into a Bitcoin ATM; or

  • Receive a payment into their personal account, withdraw the amount in cash, and then send it via MoneyGram or Western Union to an overseas recipient; or

  • Open a new bank account to receive the payment, set up a travel money card, and then transfer money via MoneyGram or Western Union to an overseas recipient.

But cyber criminals don’t just want you to help them launder money.

You might also be asked to give away your personal details as part of the fake ‘application process’, such as:

  • Your current residential address;

  • Your personal bank details;

  • Your tax file number; or

  • A photocopy of your passport

How can I protect myself?

According to Stay Smart Online, there are steps you can take to be on your guard and stay safe from this fake job ad scam:

  • Ask yourself: is the recruiter real? Verify if they really exist by doing your own research checking their website and other online presences, such as social media.

  • When applying for a job, a recruiter has no need for any of your personal information beyond the basic details you’d typically include in your resume or CV.

  • No employer or recruiter will be asking you upfront for your banking details or “excessive personal info” like your drivers’ license, passport, or tax file number. Information like your bank details is provided after formal interviews, a job offer, and any other negotiations you need to have with your new employer.

  • If you’re ever unsure, get a second opinion: ask family or friends before communicating with a recruiter.

Have there been any of these fake job ads on SEEK?

Speaking to Yahoo Finance, SEEK spokesperson Sarah Macartney said while they had “not seen any concerning activity on the SEEK site”, they nonetheless took data security “very seriously”.

“Before allowing any job advertisement to the site, we do confirm relevant business details to ensure jobseeker security and legitimacy of the employment opportunity,” she said.

“In the event that a suspicious job ad is identified onsite we have a robust process to investigate.”

Job seekers are encouraged to follow Stay Smart Online’s guidelines on safe job searching, Macartney said.

“Jobseekers should never provide financial details to apply for a role, and if they suspect any suspicious behaviour onsite contact SEEK immediately.”

If you think you’ve seen one of these scams, report it to SCAMwatch on scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam. You should also get in touch with the local police as well as the job seeking website the job has been advertised on.

If you’ve provided financial details in what you suspect is a scam, get in touch with your bank immediately about any suspicious activity.

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