Imagine receiving a message from an international number, offering a job that sounds too good to be true. The job involves completing small tasks for payment, and it seems like a great opportunity to make some extra cash. But as you get deeper into the process, the scammers ask you to invest some money, promising big returns. The temptation may be strong, but it’s important to remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Unfortunately, many people fall for this scam, which ultimately leads to serious financial loss.

A similar scam is going around in India these days. The Pune Police have named it “Task Fraud”. Keep reading to learn more about this so that you can remain vigilant.

How does it work?

The scam usually begins with a message on WhatsApp, often from an international number. The initial message is typically from a fraudster posing as an HR representative, offering attractive part-time jobs with good pay. Once the receiver responds, the scammer asks them to perform simple tasks such as liking YouTube videos, providing reviews for hotels, or rating online products positively, and then sending screenshots as proof. For each task completed, the scammer promises a small payment of around Rs 50 to Rs 100.

Once the target is hooked, the scammer moves on to the next stage. They add the target to a Telegram group, where they claim to offer prepaid tasks. If the target does not have Telegram installed on their phone, the scammer will ask them to install it or offer to assist with the installation process.

On Telegram, scammers may add individuals to groups with names that suggest a higher level of promotion, leading the person to believe they have been promoted. It is at this point that the scammer will demand money for what they call “prepaid tasks”. For example, they may ask for Rs 1,000 (£10) upfront before a task, promising to pay back between Rs 1,300 to Rs 1,500  (approximately £13- £15) upon completion of the task. The nature of the tasks may change slightly, but still usually involve simple actions such as clicking, liking, or rating various items.

As the person falls deeper into the scam, the scammers may add them to higher-level groups where the value of prepaid tasks increases to lakhs. The scammers may then demand larger sums of money, such as Rs 2-3 lakhs (approximately £2000-£3000), promising even higher returns.

The scammers eventually stop returning the promised returns on the prepaid tasks, using excuses such as needing to invest the funds into Bitcoins or payment processing issues. To recover the initial payment, the scammers then demand increasingly larger sums of money. Unfortunately, many victims continue to pay in the hopes of recovering their losses.

As victims wise up to the scam and stop making payments, they may demand their money back, but the scammers typically cut off communication and disappear.

Tips to stay safe from Task Fraud Recruitment Scams:

1.Research the company: Before applying for a job or accepting a task, make sure you research the company thoroughly.  Check if the company has a legitimate website, read reviews, and check their social media pages. If the company does not have a website or social media presence, it could be a red flag.

2.Check for contact information: Legitimate companies will have a physical address, phone number, and email address listed on their website as well as on their WhatsApp account. If you cannot find any contact information or if the email address looks suspicious or it’s coming from International Number then it could be a scam.

3.Be cautious of unsolicited job offers: If you receive an email or message out of the blue offering you a job or a task, be cautious. Legitimate companies will never approach people randomly for recruitment opportunities through social apps such as WhatsApp.

4.Don’t pay any fees: Legitimate companies will not ask you to pay any fees upfront for a job or task. If you are asked to pay a fee for a job or a task, it could be a scam.

5.Don’t share personal information: Never share your personal information, such as your social security number, bank account number, or credit card information, with anyone you don’t trust. And never click and pay through any link shared.

6.Trust your instincts: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instincts and don’t take unnecessary risks.

In a world where scams seem to be lurking around every corner, it’s more important than ever to arm ourselves with the knowledge to stay safe. That’s why Siccura is here to provide you with the latest updates on upcoming scams and insights to help you protect yourself. Our Instagram page is the perfect place to stay informed and stay one step ahead of scammers. Make sure you follow @siccurasolution on Instagram!