PETALING JAYA: A different type of job scam is being pulled off on social media, with victims being asked to perform tasks that range from following the pages of celebrities to buying products from online stores to increase pageviews and ratings.
These scams are usually advertised as part-time jobs on popular social media platforms.
Unsuspecting users are asked to fork out their own money first to buy products – ranging from affordable items to luxury goods – with the promise that their money will be returned along with an added commission.
The victims do get both their commission and money back at first, but once they are hooked and put in a bigger sum of money, the scammers disappear.
Several victims told The Star that they had continued putting in their money as they had initially seen returns after performing the task.
After the third attempt, their money was lost.
The victims have lodged police reports and reached out to their banks.
But their attempts to recover their money have been unsuccessful.
Geetha R., 44, said she lost RM46,000 in less than two days after she did about 10 tasks, some of which included buying electrical appliances.
She had signed up for the job after seeing an advertisement on Facebook and wanted to earn some income as she was unemployed.
After signing up, she was asked by a woman to like some TikTok videos and send a screencap to prove that she had performed the task.
“The payment was made via an ewallet. The amount was between RM2 and RM5 for each video I liked.
“After that, she asked me if I was keen 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 buy a product and she gave me a bank account number for payment.
“Fifteen minutes after I paid the sum, she transferred RM150 to my account.
“I asked her why we needed to do this; she said this was to increase the traffic on the seller’s website so that the public could see that many people had bought the items and sales would increase. And they paid us a commission,” she added.
Geetha said the next day’s tasks cost thousands of ringgit and after some time she realised that she was not getting any money back.
“The woman kept on pressuring me to do another task to recover my money. I didn’t realise that I had transferred so much money to her until my bank account was empty and I borrowed from friends, with hopes that I could still get my money back.
“After I did six to seven tasks, she said I needed to do another task that would cost RM30,000.
“It suddenly dawned on me that I had been scammed.
“The scammer asked me to complete a RM30,000 task to get back my RM46,000 but I told her I had no cash at all,” she added.
Geetha has lodged a police report but has not been successful in getting her money back.
She said she felt down and guilty as there was no more 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 about RM5,500,” she said.
Like Geetha, Nadiah too had come across a part-time job advertisement on Facebook.
She initially thought that the job advertisement was for a typist but when she contacted the company, she found out it entailed increasing the ratings of a company by performing transactions.
The first-year student claimed that she did get some returns for the first two transactions, but did not see any more money after that.
She was unwilling at first to carry out a transaction where she was asked to buy a sofa for RM3,488, but was eventually convinced that she could get all her money back.
However, she said after completing the task, she was told she had to complete another one to recover her money. She flatly refused.
“I am trying to come to terms with the situation and accept it,” she said, adding that she had some savings from previous jobs.
Nadiah said she used to be alert and would warn family members against scams. She could not believe that she herself would fall victim to one.
A 35-year-old from Kuantan, who wanted to be known only as Norfarahin, said she was offered a part-time job as an online sales assistant to increase 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 for her to get her money back.
When it came to a task involving more than RM13,000, she said no.
Norfarahin said they promised to return the RM5,094 that she had forked out earlier, but she has not received the money.
“The ‘customer service’ has blocked my number. I have already reported this matter to the police,” she added.
The Star found that the job advertisements were usually found on social media platforms such as Facebook or messaging apps like WhatsApp, where victims were lured with the promise of remote working and high returns.
Once the victims sign up, the scammer will contact the victims via WhatsApp detailing a bank account to transfer their money to and a link to a website where they get the list of tasks to do.