An elaborate scam involving a fake job was able to dupe a cyber-security expert who ended up being fleeced out of $150,000 of his family’s money.
Josh, who asked not to share his real name, has a degree in cyber-security and clicked on what he thought was an Instagram job ad for Woolworths.
He was taken to a WhatsApp chat where he was told the supermarket job had been filled, but there was a position vacant at the ParkRoyal hotel chain.
Josh was at first sceptical but the scammers answered questions to his satisfaction.
‘It just spiralled out of control,’ Josh told Nine news.
A fake job ad posted on Instagram led to a cyber-security expert being fleeced $150,000 by scammers
‘They had a WhatsApp group that they had me join in as well.
‘That WhatsApp group was supposedly about people that do the same work and each person would send screenshots of how much they’ve been paid with photos of people, supposedly normal people, living normal lives.’
He was given online ‘training’, and after giving his BSB and account number, $100 was paid into his account for doing simple tasks.
Josh was then told he had to transfer his own money to get more orders and be paid.
He duly paid $120 and received a commission of $500 after completing 40 orders.
Hooked by the promise of easy earnings he kept transferring money even after he noticed none was being paid to him.
In just three days, Josh transferred $150,000 to the scammers in pursuit of commissions.
‘Eventually I just emptied my savings accounts,’ Josh said.
‘What makes it worse is that I reached a point of desperation that I went into my parents’ accounts and I drained their money as well.’
He even received a warning from NAB that the money was going to a scam account but ignored it.
It wasn’t until the third day that he realised it was a scam.
‘If the job was legitimate, everyone in this world would be signing up to it, to be paid $60 per hour by clicking two buttons on a computer,’ he said.
‘I’m like, ‘How the hell did I fall for that?’
‘It’s just so stupid.’
Australians lost at least at least $3.1billion to scammers in 2022, which represents a staggering 80 per cent increase on the year before.
Since then Josh had battled depression and still deeply feels the shame of how he was taken in despite considering himself being very ‘digitally savvy’.
Josh did not tell his family until 10 months after that he lost the money and even then could not admit how it happened.
The scam has been reported to police.
Scammers pocketed at least $3.1billion in 2022 according to the latest Targeting Scams report, an 80 per cent increase on total losses recorded from the year before.
‘Australians lost more money to scams than ever before in 2022, but the true cost of scams is much more than a dollar figure as they also cause emotional distress to victims, their families and businesses,’ Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair Catriona Lowe said.
The report used data reported to the ACCC’s Scamwatch, ReportCyber, the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange, IDCARE and other government agencies.
Scamwatch received 239,237 scam reports last year with financial losses totalling more than $569 million, a 76 per cent increase compared to losses reported in the previous year.
Average losses experienced by victims in 2022 rose by more than 50 per cent to almost $20,000.
The rise is due in part to scammers using increasingly sophisticated technology and techniques to lure and deceive victims.
‘We have seen alarming new tactics emerge which make scams incredibly difficult to detect,’ Ms Lowe said.
‘This includes everything from impersonating official phone numbers, email addresses and websites of legitimate organisations to scam texts that appear in the same conversation thread as genuine messages.’