Fraudsters setting pay-for-jobs traps, FBI warns

Scammers are increasingly offering fake work-from-home jobs. They lure victims with relatively simple, profitable tasks but ask for crypto to “unlock” work.

The FBI has published a new announcement warning of scammers defrauding individuals via work-from-home scams.

Victims are offered the chance to rate restaurants, “optimize” a service by repeatedly clicking a button, and do other simple but fake tasks.

“The scammers pose as a legitimate business, such as a staffing or recruiting agency, and may contact victims via an unsolicited call or message. Scammers design the fake job to have a confusing compensation structure that requires victims to make cryptocurrency payments in order to earn more money or ‘unlock’ work, and the payments go directly to the scammer,” the FBI warns.

Scammers have come up with fake interfaces showing victims how much money they're “earning,” though none of it is available to cash out.

Some red flags to watch out for include “employers” directing you to make cryptocurrency payments to them as part of a job. Also, the job description often uses the term “optimization” and involves relatively simple tasks. Scammers will not bar anyone from applying by requiring any references as part of the hiring process.

“Be cautious of unsolicited job offer messages and avoid clicking on links, downloading files, or opening attachments in these messages. Never send money to an alleged employer,” the FBI recommends.

You should also not pay for services that claim to be able to recover any lost cryptocurrency funds nor send any financial or personally identifiable information to people making unsolicited job offers.

If you believe that you or someone you know may be a victim of a cryptocurrency scam, immediately submit a report to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

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