Have you gotten a job offer recently to work freelance to boost the profile of an app and be paid with cryptocurrency? It could be a scam, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC).
A bulletin posted by CAFC on Friday warns that a new type of job opportunity fraud is on the rise.
In this scam, the post says, fraudsters use the name of a real company to lure victims into advertising products, apps or videos which the fraudster has created.
“After the victim installs the software and creates an account, they receive “orders” or “tasks” they have to complete,” the centre states. “Victims might receive a small payment or commission in order to convince them that the job is legitimate.”
The scammer will promise payment in the form of cryptocurrency, to be deposited into a crypto account or wallet belonging to the victim. However, when the victim attempts to withdraw funds that they have earned, they won’t be able to, even though it’ll appear as though there are funds in their crypto account.
Cryptocurrency is an increasingly common feature in fraud, according to the centre.
In June, CAFC warned of a type of scam called “pig butchering” in which a scammer gets close to someone on dating apps or other social media platforms, pretending to be interested in a romantic relationship, before then claiming to be a successful cryptocurrency investor who can help the victim get started with investing.
Fraudsters convince the victim to transfer funds to them so they can help them to invest, and will provide some funds back up front to make it seem as if the investment is legitimate and bearing fruit. Similar to the job opportunity fraud, victims often only realize they have been defrauded when they try later on to withdraw funds from their crypto account and find that they can’t.
So far in 2023, there have been more than 32,000 reports of fraud in Canada, according to CAFC, and more than 21,000 victims of fraud. Around $283.5 million has already been lost to fraud in Canada this year.
In 2022, $531 million was lost by victims of fraud in Canada, the centre says.
An Ontario man lost his home and nearly $500,000 earlier this year due to a cryptocurrency scam. Because of the rapid international transfer possible through cryptocurrency, and its ease of use online, victims can get conned into providing funds very quickly.