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Made to work only to be deceived

PETALING JAYA: Another type of employment scam is being launched on social media, with victims being asked to complete tasks ranging from following celebrity pages to purchasing products from online stores to boost pages views and ratings.

These scams are usually advertised as part-time jobs on popular social media platforms.

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Unsuspecting users are asked to first shell out their own money to purchase products – ranging from affordable items to luxury goods – with the promise that their money will be returned to them with an additional commission.

The victims get both their commission and their money back at first, but once they get hooked and invest a bigger sum of money, the scammers disappear.

Several victims told The Star that they continued to invest their money because they initially saw returns after completing the task.

After the third attempt, their money was lost.

The victims filed a complaint with the police and contacted their bank.

But their attempts to get their money back were unsuccessful.

Geetha R., 44, said she lost RM46,000 in less than two days after completing about 10 tasks, some of which included shopping for electrical appliances.

She had registered for work after seeing an ad on Facebook and wanted to earn an income as she was unemployed.

After signing up, a woman asked her to like some TikTok videos and send a screenshot to prove she had completed the task.

“Payment was made via an e-wallet. The amount was between RM2 to RM5 for each video I liked.

“After that, she asked me if I would like to do another task, for which I had to pay RM120 but the returns were RM150.

“I was given a link where I needed to purchase a product and she gave me a bank account number for payment.

“Fifteen minutes after paying the sum, she transferred RM150 to my account.

“I asked him why we had to do this; she said it was to increase traffic to the seller’s website so the public could see that many people had purchased the items and sales would increase. And they paid us a commission,” she added.

Geetha said that the tasks for the next day cost thousands of ringgits and after a while she realized that she was not receiving any money.

“The woman kept pressuring me to do another task to get my money back. I didn’t realize I had transferred so much money to her until my bank account was empty and I borrowed from friends, hoping I could still get my money back.

“After completing six to seven tasks, she said I had to do another task which would cost RM30,000.

“I suddenly realized that I had been scammed.

“The scammer asked me to complete a task of RM30,000 to get my RM46,000 back but I told him I had no money at all,” she added.

Geetha filed a police report but failed to get her money back.

She said she felt depressed and guilty because there was no money left in her bank account and her husband was helping her pay off her debts.

Nadiah Sabri, 22, a student from Kelantan, fell victim to the same scam on May 3.

“My losses amounted to around RM5,500,” she said.

Like Geetha, Nadiah had also come across a part-time job ad on Facebook.

She initially thought the job posting was for a typist, but when she contacted the company, she discovered that it involved raising a company’s ratings by making trades.

The freshman claimed that she got returns for the first two trades, but received no more money after that.

At first, she was unwilling to make a transaction where she was asked to buy a sofa for RM3,488, but eventually she was convinced that she could get all her money back.

However, she says after completing the task, she was told she had to complete another one to get her money back. She categorically refused.

“I try to accept the situation and accept it,” she said, adding that she had savings from her previous jobs.

Nadiah said she was alert and warning her family members against scams. She couldn’t believe that she herself would be a victim.

A 35-year-old woman from Kuantan, who wanted to be known only as Norfarahin, said she was offered a part-time job as an online sales assistant to boost the merchant’s sales rate with a commission of 10%.

Just like the other two victims, she was told to complete more and more tasks to get her money back.

When it came to a task involving over RM13,000, she said no.

Norfarahin said they promised to return the RM5,094 she paid earlier, but she did not receive the money.

“’Customer service’ blocked my number. I have already reported this matter to the police,” she added.

The Star found that job postings were typically found on social media platforms like Facebook or messaging apps like WhatsApp, where victims were lured by the promise of remote work and high returns.

Once the victims are registered, the scammer will contact them via WhatsApp giving them a bank account to transfer their money to and a link to a website where they will get the to-do list.

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