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Australians are being urged to be on the lookout for employment scams amid a sharp rise in workers being tricked with dodgy job opportunities.

Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones said on Monday that Australians have lost $20 million to employment scams this year alone, with Instagram, TikTok and WhatsApp emerging as platforms for illegal activity.

“They often help victims set up accounts on cryptocurrency platforms and get them to undertake training and tasks, before asking for a financial deposit with the promise of commissions or bonuses,” Jones said.

“In some instances, they entice victims to engage with schemes by offering small ‘cash backs’ to begin.”

Tales of job scams

One Australian lost $40,000 after responding to a job advertisement for a hotel booking platform on Facebook.

The worker was tasked with generating hotel ratings and was told they’d need to deposit money with the company first so that they would later be repaid with an additional commission for their work.

After completing an initial block of 35 bookings, the company sent the worker back their deposit, plus a small commission.

“I committed to continue as I thought it will be the same as the first one,” the worker said.

“But this time the investment was getting so high. I continued to finish 35 bookings and asked to withdraw my fund plus commission.

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