Consumers urged to look out for employment opportunity scams in the wake of COVID-19

The Queensland Office of Fair Trading warns of employment opportunity scams in the following media release.

COVID-19 has unleashed literally hundreds of scams across Australia and the next ones the Queensland Office of Fair Trading wants consumers to watch out for are employment opportunity scams.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said scammers hiding behind bogus recruitment companies would be trying to take advantage of the many people job hunting as a result of the economic fallout from COVID-19.

“There are a number of common job and employment scams,” Mr Bauer said. “These often involve offers to work from home or to set up and invest in a business opportunity.

“Last year, Australians lost almost $3.4 million through jobs and employment scams.

“Scammers may make promises of a job, a high salary or amazing investment returns following initial upfront payments for a business plan, starter kit, training course, software, uniforms, security clearance or other fees.

“These ‘opportunities’ are often promoted through spam emails, adverts in well-known classifieds, and online.

“If you pay the fee, sometimes you will receive the item that you paid for, such as the ‘business plan’ but it may not be what you expected or consist only of instructions on how to get other people to join the same scheme.

“Some offers may be a cover for illegal money laundering activities where you will receive money into your bank account for a commission and then pass the money on to a foreign company.

“Other scams involve you completing paperwork with all your personal details including tax file number and proof of identity to apply for a job, which may later be used to commit identity theft.

“Consumers should also beware of offers or schemes claiming to guarantee an income through the use of software to trade on markets or bet on sporting events.

“Do your research – ask around, search online and check that the company selling the software is licensed via ASIC’s Australian Financial Services licensee register.”

More information on COVID-19 scams is available on the Scamwatch website as well as what you can do to protect yourself and how to identify a potential employment scam.

OFT Queensland 08/05.

Media contact: 07 3738 8614 or 07 3738 8616. All other enquires: 13 QGOV (13 74 68)