CALGARY – Police are warning Calgarians to keep an eye out for fake job postings when seeking employment, citing a recent scam which bilked victims out of thousands of dollars.
Investigators said at least five victims have lost approximately $12,000 to fake online job postings since the beginning of the year.
The postings advertised a position as a clerk at a made-up company sometimes called Pausa Finance, Pausa Financial or Pausa Finance Limited.
Once the victims applied for the position, police said they were contacted by someone who claimed the company would hire them for a job with more responsibilities than what was initially advertised.
The ‘employer’ then sent victims a cheque or e-transfer with instructions to withdraw the money and use it to get bitcoins from an ATM machine. After the bitcoins were purchased and sent to the offenders, it turned out the transfer/cheque was fake, and the victim was out the money used to purchase the bitcoins.
As part of their contract with the fraudulent employer, victims often provided the scammers with their personal information, including their Social Insurance Number and banking information.
Police caution these ads can appear under many different names and job descriptions.
Be cautious of ‘secret shopper’ job postings
Police are warning job seekers to be cautious when applying for companies they are unfamiliar with, saying so-called “secret shopper scams” are on the rise.
Victims who have answered the fraudulent job postings are contacted by someone indicating that a cheque and instructions have been sent by courier.
The victim is asked to cash the cheque and use a money transfer company to wire a portion of the funds to a specific person or place. The cheques are counterfeit, leaving the victim on the hook for the money wired.
Have you been scammed?
Since November 2015, officers have received more than 89 calls about various employment scams in which victims have lost more than $150,000.
If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, you’re asked to contact Calgary police. Frauds where money has not been lost can also be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or online at www.antifraudcentre.ca.