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Watch out for fake work ads, FBI warns

The FBI issued a warning stating that scammers use fake job ads in order to steal cryptocurrency from job seekers across the United States.

The scammers pretend to be recruiters for legitimate companies, offering victims fake work-from-home job opportunities. The jobs involve relatively simple tasks, such as rating restaurants or ‘optimizing’ a service by repeatedly clicking a button.

The imposters pose themselves as employees for recruiting agencies and contact their victims via unsolicited calls or messages. “Scammers design the fake job to have a confusing compensation structure that requires victims to make cryptocurrency payments in order to earn more money or ‘unlock’ work, and the payments go directly to the scammer,” the FBI says in a public service announcement.

To make their fraudulent scheme more convincing and persuasive, the scammers created a fake financial portal. This interface allowed victims to see how much money they supposedly had earned. Cashing out however wasn’t a possibility.

Red flags and tips to protect yourself

The FBI emphasizes there were several red flags indicating there never was a real job opportunity.

Firstly, victims were directed to make cryptocurrency payments to employers as part of a job. Secondly, the job description used the term ‘optimization’ and involved simple tasks. And lastly, the scammers never asked for any references as part of the hiring process.

The FBI provides several tips to protect job seekers from these kinds of work-from-home scams. They should be cautious for unsolicited job offers and never click on URLs, download files or open attachments. They could contain malicious software and before you know it your computer is infected with malware.

Another giveaway you’re dealing with scammers, is the fact they want you to send money to an employer. “Do not pay for services that claim to be able to recover any lost cryptocurrency funds,” the FBI says.

Lastly, do not send financial or personal identifiable information to people making unsolicited job offers.

The FBI requests victims to report any fraudulent or suspicious job opportunity activities to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

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