Jobs & employment

Jobs and employment scams trick you into handing over your money by offering you a ‘guaranteed’ way to make fast money or a high-paying job for little effort.

How does this scam work?

The scammer contacts you by email, letter or phone and offers you a job that requires very little effort for high returns, or a guaranteed way to make money quickly.  You may even come across false job opportunities on classified ad websites.

The job on offer may require you to do something simple such as stuffing envelopes or assembling a product using materials that you have to buy from the ‘employer’.  To accept the job you will be asked to pay for a starter kit or materials relevant to the job or scheme.

If you pay the fee you may not receive anything or what you do receive is not what you expected or were promised. For example, instead of a ‘business plan’, you may be sent instructions for how to get other people to join the same scheme.

On completion of your work, the scammer will refuse to pay you for some or all of your work, using excuses such as the work not being up to the required standard.

Another type of job opportunity scam asks you to use your bank account to receive and pass on payments for a foreign company. The scammers promise you a percentage commission for each payment you pass on.

If you provide your account details the scammer may use them to steal your money or commit other fraudulent activities.

Warning signs

  • You come across an advertisement or receive an email, letter or phone call offering you a guaranteed income or job.
  • The message may claim lots of money can be made with little effort using your personal computer, or guarantee large returns.
  • The message is not addressed to you personally.
  • The message asks you to provide personal details or a fee for more information about the job or start-up materials.
  • The message does not have a street address, only a post office box or an email address.
  • You are asked to transfer money on behalf of someone else.

Protect yourself

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited 'work from home' opportunities or job offers, particularly those that offer a 'guaranteed income' or require you to pay an upfront fee.
  • If the job involves making or selling a certain type of product or service, find out if there is really a market for it.
  • Ask for references from other people who have done the work or used the product, and make the effort to speak to these people.
  • Do not deal with an employer or company that does not have a street address, they can be difficult to contact or trace later on
  • Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
  • Never agree to transfer money for someone else - this is money laundering and it is illegal.

Have you been scammed?

If you think you have provided your account details, passport, tax file number, licence, Medicare or other personal identification details to a scammer, contact your bank, financial institution, or other relevant agencies immediately.

We encourage you to report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page. This helps us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible. Please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot.

We also provide guidance on protecting yourself from scams and where to get help.

Spread the word to your friends and family to protect them.

Contact the relevant website to let them know the scammer’s profile name and any other details that may help them to stop others being scammed.

More information

Pyramid schemes

Pyramid schemes are illegal and very risky ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes that can end up costing you a lot of money.

Up-front payment & advanced fee frauds

Up-front payment and advanced fee frauds ask you to send money up-front in order to later receive some sort of 'reward', such as a prize, discounted holiday, or pre-approved loan.

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