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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Recession: Online scam targets jobless people

In the face of increasing bite of the economic recession, online fraudsters are now targeting the jobless with the hope they would assist them to get a job.
SkyNews reports that scams have seen organised criminals preying on people trying to find jobs and properties online.

The fraudsters target web users who respond to posts on widely-used classified advertising sites offering well-paid jobs or attractive rented accommodation.

When the user responds to a property ad, they are told the property in question is about to go to someone else, and asked to handover a cash advance, often the size of a month’s rent or more, to secure it - only to discover later that it belongs to someone else entirely.

Fake jobs are advertised by fraudsters who then send pay cheques in advance, sometimes for up to several thousand worth of Naira, purportedly by error.

The report also said that victims are usually asked to keep their wage and wire the rest back - only for the cheques to bounce days later.

However, experts said, the scams are effective because people are often desperate for work amid rising redundancies or keen to secure good quality accommodation as quickly as possible when they are new in town.

Richard Webb, lead officer for e-commerce at a United Kingdom-based Trading Standards Institute, said property con-artists often target several people at a time, netting up to N7,000 in a single spate of swindles.

The perpetrators are practically impossible to trace as the adverts can be placed anywhere in the world and victims are asked to wire the money through international credit transfer agencies.

He, therefore, suspects such scammers are members of organised criminal.

“These are individuals who are sophisticated and intelligent in the way they operate,” he told Sky News Online.


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