8 arrested for suspected involvement in ‘Ponzi-like job scams’

The scammers also offered fake online jobs which required the job seekers to complete easy tasks such as making purchases with various e-commerce companies. 

In order to perform the job and earn a commission, the job seekers were directed to sign up for free membership accounts on websites provided by the scammers.

To boost the memberships, the platform provided additional rebates when the existing member recruited new members, and when a certain number of tasks were achieved by the existing member or the newly recruited members.

After signing up for the free membership, the job seekers would be asked to top up their account maintained on the platform before they could start performing the job to earn commissions. All top-up and withdrawal transactions were performed using cryptocurrency. 

“In most cases, the job seekers were convinced that it was a legitimate job as they would receive commissions and profit during the early stages of their memberships,” said the police. 

“They would realise that they had been scammed when they did not receive further commissions or were unable to make withdrawals from their member accounts.”

Officers from the Commercial Affairs Department mounted simultaneous islandwide operations on Mar 17 and Mar 18 and arrested the three men. 

The offence of fraud by false representation of position not connected with contracts for goods and services carries a jail term of up to 20 years, a fine, or both.

The police urged job seekers to be wary of online job advertisements that promise the convenience of working from home and being paid a high salary for “relatively simple” job responsibilities. 

Legitimate businesses will not require job seekers to make upfront payments to secure job offers and earn commissions or utilise their own bank accounts to receive money on the businesses’ behalf.

“These acts are common ruses used by scammers to lure individuals into participating in their schemes or scams,” SPF said.

To avoid becoming involved in money laundering activities, members of the public should always reject requests to use their personal bank or cryptocurrency accounts to receive and transfer money for others, the police said.

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