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Christmas job advertisement scammers recruit money mules

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has warned of a spike in recruitment scams targeting vulnerable job-seekers in the lead up to Christmas.

Jarrod Rendle, Consumer Information team leader for MBIE said successful applicants are becoming unwittingly embroiled in money laundering schemes. Many victims end up divulging so much of their personal information that they then become prime targets for future malicious scams.

"Scammers are using reputable recruitment sites and newspapers to post vacancies for roles such as courier and store-person. Applicants are initially rejected for the role they applied for, but are then offered an alternative administration role opportunity to try and avoid detection.

"Employees are duped into accepting stolen cash into their bank accounts, usually from other phishing victims, and are then required to send the funds back to their overseas employers via a money transfer agent such as Western Union.

"It can be tough this time of year and scammers are preying on people who are simply trying to support themselves through the festive season," said Rendle.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment suggests a number of ways people can protect themselves when applying for jobs:

- Check out any job offer carefully. Don’t be taken in by wild claims or glowing testimonials. Type the company name plus ‘scam’ into an internet search engine. You may find reports from people who have been targeted by the same scam

- Be suspicious of online ads promoting the opportunity to work at home - many of them are scams

- Never use your bank account to transfer money to someone you don't know

- Never send money overseas, especially via a money wiring service such as Western Union, unless you completely know and trust the person or organisation

- Contact your bank if you have received money into your bank account that you believe to be illegal. If you have any problems contact the Banking Ombudsman for guidance

- Ignore unsolicited emails. It’s best to delete them without opening them. If you do open them, avoid clicking on any links, even ones that say 'unsubscribe' - they may launch spyware or viruses on your computer.

If you think you have been scammed, it is important to act quickly. Contact the police and report the scam through Scamwatch website.

For more information on scams, visit: http://www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/scams

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