Find out how a university student just lost over RM22,000 in an online job scam!
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Online Job Scam Are Targeting The Poor + Desperate!
Online job scams have been around for a long, long time. But fake job syndicates have become more active recently, probably because more people are getting laid off, and inflation is eating into our money.
Online job scams come in a variety of ways, but most commonly, you get unsolicited messages through WhatsApp or iMessage, offering you the opportunity to make a lot of money through part-time work, in the comfort of your own home.
This is especially appealing to people who are currently jobless and desperate. Or in this recent case – a university student who is just starting out in life.
I am Shirley , a permanent employee at XXXX Company in the recruitment department. The HR department sent me this number and asked me to contact you to get you to a job opportunity.
Hello! I am Miss Aisyah Binte Ahmed, from The Recruitment Dept. at YYYY Digital, Malaysia. Our company is hiring part-time and full-time online Employees. Can I briefly share the details with you?
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How A University Student Lost RM22K In Online Job Scam!
I had earlier written about how fake job syndicates cheat people of their hard-earned money, but I didn’t realise that these scammers are also targeting university students!
A university student recently shared how he quickly lost over RM20,000 to an online job scam, despite being warned that it could be a scam!
How They Reel The Student In…
These online job scams always start by offering their victims an EASY way to make A LOT of money!
It all started two days ago, when an unknown person asked me if I’m interested in a part time job. I usually don’t decline offers like this because I’m also a student looking for internship or job opportunities.
He gave me simple tasks, like subscribing to YouTube channels and get RM10 for each subscription. I was interested as money did really go to my account.
Then, I was added into a group. They would give these free tasks of subscribing to YouTube channels.
These scammers also know that people are now wary of scams, and will always demonstrate their willingness to pay… at least in the beginning.
And occasionally will provide merchant tasks throughout the day, which you bank in a certain amount of money to them, which was said to help improve crypto merchant’s reputation or some sort, then they’ll return you a good amount of earnings after the task is completed. It takes around half an hour to do so. So for these two days I earned around RM500.
This is how the scammers establish trust with their victims, and convince them to “invest” to get even more money!
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The Scam Happens Very Quickly
The “merchant tasks” is when they start scamming you, and the scam occurs very quickly. You may think that you’re earning a lot of money, but you will never see a cent of it.
So here’s where the fishing begins. A merchant task has started. A rule was stated that I must complete all the tasks given or I will not get the money that I banked in before.
It doesn’t matter how little you “invest” in this “merchant task” scheme. Once you are in, they will quickly use your “earnings” to force you to keep paying them!
I chose the least risk package, give RM300 to get RM360. Then, I was required to continue the next task. Same, I chose the smallest amount RM2000 to get RM2600. Again, need to continue the next task, I chose the smallest RM5000 to get RM7000. Then, RM15000 to get RM19500.
Then, RM40000 to get RM52000. At this point, I still haven’t realize it’s a scam. All I’m focussed on is I need to take back the money that I banked in, so I’m just thinking about completing the tasks given.
By The Time He Realised… It Was TOO LATE!
Because the university student was so engrossed in getting back the money he “invested” earlier, he didn’t realise that he was giving the scammers more and more money… until it was much too late.
There’s one trick that this scammer is using. He let me start with a small investment, then proceed with stages. They force me to continue because I want to rescue the money that I put in in the previous task. So it keeps getting bigger and bigger.
Unfortunately, by the time the university student realised his mistake, it was much too late… He had already lost over RM22K!
At that time, I have not enough money in my bank to fork out RM40k. So I panic and find my friend to lend me some money.
Luckily my friend as a sideliner noticed that this is a scam and stopped me. I woke up finding that evervthing was too late. Just like that, two days, RM22300, gone.
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Many People In The Group Are Scammers
As the university student later realised, many of the people in the group are part of the online job scam syndicate. Their job is to give the victims the perception that this is a legitimate job with many people participating.
During merchant tasks, I’m asked to leave the big group and will be joining a small group of 3-4 members. One of the scary parts in this operation after I realize it’s a scam is that, all the group members in the group are actually controlled by the same person.
Out of the 4 members, two might be playing rich vips who will play the highest package, pressuring you to play with more money, the other person looks like a newcomer like me and plays along with me, choosing the lowest package.
Precautions Were Useless
The university student was actually warned by his parents that it could be a scam. He even prepared for the possibility he could be scammed:
Some Precautions | Made While Attempting This:
I was being very careful with this. I shared with my parents on the first night. My parents did warned me about it being a scam, but didn’t stop me from it since I’m earning something. They just ask me to be extra cautious.
I have two bank accounts, so I moved most of my savings such that I have a “small” account and a “big” account, to prevent losses if anything goes wrong.
I also created a new chat account with another phone number solely for this “part time job”. I also made a plan and promise to only invest my earnings, so I cannot touch my savings.
But as German Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke once said, “No plan survives contact with the enemy“, and the student’s precaution was useless when he got “emotionally invested” in getting his money back, and ended up taking out all of his saving from the “big account”!
I believe we always read about news of scams in Malaysia, asking why are they so dumb, why they fall into these type of scams. Until I’m in their shoes. I was being very cautious taking the above steps and always remind myself to not be greedy, play only the least risk.
The worse part is, when I’m within that situation and cannot think straight. I even use my savings from my “big” account, just because I want to rescue the money I put in.
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The university student is now “emotionally depressed” and “thinking about suicide” over the loss of so much money. But do the scammers care? No, they couldn’t care less if people commit suicide over the loss of their hard-earned money.
He has also contacted his bank fraud hotline, and lodged a police report. Unfortunately, he is unlikely to ever recover any of the money he lost. But I hope he understands that his life matters more to his family than money, and he can always make back the money as long as he lives.
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.
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