Scammers prey on young jobseekers with get-rich-quick promises

Scammers are targeting a growing number of young jobseekers and luring them with ads that promise to help them make fast cash.

Australians lost more than $8.7 million to recruitment scams last year prompting the consumer watchdog to warn young jobseekers in particular to be on guard.

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard says young jobseekers are being targeted by scammers.
ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard says young jobseekers are being targeted by scammers.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Scamwatch said young people in particular should protect their personal information when applying for jobs and beware offers made through social media platforms or messaging services such as Whatsapp.

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said thousands of young Australians had finished school or graduated from university with high-hopes about their future careers, and intented to look for work in the new year.

“Unfortunately, they are being targeted by scammers,” she said.

“We know younger people are particularly vulnerable, with Australians aged between 25 and 44 reporting the biggest losses to job scams.

“If you are job hunting and you are offered work that requires little effort for a big financial reward it is most likely a scam. This might include repeatedly clicking a button on a website or app to purchase products or submit reviews.”

The ACCC says more than 3194 incidents were reported to Scamwatch in the past year. Many of the victims were lured on the promise of making money quickly.


Scammers will often ask for a payment in exchange for a guaranteed income. They pretend to be hiring on behalf of high-profile companies and online shopping platforms and impersonate well-known recruitment agencies.

“In the final months of 2022, we saw a significant uptick in reports and losses associated with recruitment scams and we are concerned these scammers will continue to ramp up their efforts as people look for work in the new year,” Ms Rickard said.

“With many Australians looking to make the most of a highly competitive job market, we are urging jobseekers to be wary of opportunities that seem too good to be true. Never make a payment or upfront investment to secure a job. If you think you’ve been scammed, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.”

The ACCC advised young job seekers to stop and take their time before giving money or personal information. They should also think and ask themselves if the message or call could be fake, and protect themselves by acting quicking “if something feels wrong”. They’re urged to contact their bank and report scams to Scamwatch.

ACCC tips to protect yourself against recruitment scams:

  • Never send money or give your personal information, credit card, online bank or cryptocurrency account details to anyone you don’t know, especially if you’ve only met them online, through email or over the phone.
  • Avoid any arrangement that asks for up-front payment via bank transfer, PayID or cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
  • Be suspicious if the role is offered to you without an interview, or discussion about your experience, suitability and references.
  • Be cautious of recruiters that contact you via encrypted message platforms like WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram. These platforms are commonly used by scammers.
  • Know who you are dealing with. Research the recruiter and the business or individual offering the position. Contact the recruitment agency via phone numbers sourced from an independent internet search.
  • Don’t be pressured to act quickly. A legitimate offer will not require you to make an immediate decision. If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Don’t trust the legitimacy of a job ad just because it appears on a trusted platform or website – scammers post fake ads too. If you come across a scammer, report it to the platform or agency.
  • Don’t take payment or rewards to recruit other people into a scheme.
  • Don’t transfer money, make purchases, or receive packages on behalf of someone else, you could be committing a criminal offence like money laundering.
  • Protect your personal information. Only give your information to legitimate recruitment firms and ensure you understand their privacy policy. Be careful how much personal information you put in your resume such as your physical address or date of birth.
  • Remember to update passwords to your online accounts regularly and use strong passwords or passphrases.

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