Cybercriminals have started to become increasingly bold in their methods to scam people. The recent method involves creating fake jobs as a way to lure and traffic people. This latest scam is occurring particularly in South Asian countries.
How does it work?
The scam starts when a person sees a telesales agent advert in South Asia countries such as Thailand, Cambodia or Singapore. Once a person applies for the job, they believe it’s a legitimate opportunity as they receive flight tickets.
The so-called Candidates are picked up by a man after reaching the location and are taken to a hotel – not quite the luxury hotel is shown in pictures sent by the recruitment agent.
Passports are taken from applicants in order to aid with paperwork.
These victims are then taken to an unknown location, which is regarded as a Call Centre. The entire scam focuses on duping these people out of as much money as they can.
One victim reported: “I was forced to make 15 friends every day and entice them to join online gambling and lottery websites… of these, I had to convince five people to deposit money into their gaming accounts,” he said. The manager told me to work obediently, not to try to escape or resist or I will be taken to the torture room… Many others told me if they did not meet the target, they would be starved and beaten”. Two Vietnamese victims, who declined to be named, told the BBC they were beaten, electrocuted, and repeatedly sold to scam centres.
The Indian Victims:
There are thousands of workers who in recent months have fallen prey to human traffickers running job scams in South East Asia. Governments across a vast swathe of Asia – including Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India and Taiwan – have sounded the alarm.
Recently, the external affairs ministry said some more Indian citizens have been rescued from fake employers but remain in the custody of Myanmar authorities for illegal entry. Instances of similar job rackets have also come to light in Laos and Cambodia. Some reports have suggested that up to 300 Indian workers may have been illegally taken to the Myawaddy area in Myanmar to work for rackets engaged in call-centre scams and crypto-currency fraud.
Lured by ads promising easy work and extravagant perks, many are tricked into travelling to Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand. Once they arrive, they are held prisoner and forced to work in online scam centres known as “fraud factories”.
Human trafficking has long been an endemic problem in South East Asia. But experts say criminal networks are now looking further afield and preying on a different type of victim. Their targets tend to be quite young, primarily teenagers. They are also better educated, computer-literate, and usually speak more than one regional language.
These are seen as key by traffickers who need skilled labour to conduct online criminal activity, ranging from love scams known as “pig butchering” and crypto fraud to money laundering and illegal gambling.
People need to become more realistic now in order to protect themselves from these types of scams.