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Beware of Fake Work-from-Home Jobs – It’s a Ploy to Steal Your Crypto

ByDayne Lee

Jun 8, 2024
Beware of Fake Work-from-Home Jobs – It’s a Ploy to Steal Your Crypto

Beware of Fake Work-from-Home Jobs – It’s a Ploy to Steal Your Crypto

Be cautious if an employer demands that you send cryptocurrency to secure your dream job working from home. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warns that it’s likely just another scam. In a June 4 statement, the FBI highlighted a rising trend in work-from-home job advertisement scams, targeting unsuspecting job seekers with enticing but fraudulent offers.

The Mechanics of the Scam

Scammers typically initiate contact through unsolicited calls or messages, presenting potential victims with seemingly simple job opportunities, such as rating restaurants or “optimizing” a service by repeatedly clicking a button. These offers are designed to appear low-effort and easy to lure victims into a false sense of security.

To make the scam more convincing, fraudsters often direct victims to a fake interface that displays fictitious earnings. Victims are led to believe they are making money, though they will never be able to withdraw these funds. The trap is sprung when the victims are asked to make cryptocurrency payments to the supposed employer to “unlock” more work. In reality, these payments go directly to the scammers.

“You are directed to make cryptocurrency payments to your employer as part of a job,” the FBI noted.

Red Flags to Watch For

There are several warning signs that a job offer might be a scam. Key red flags include:

  • Excessive Use of the Term “Optimization”: Scammers often use vague terms like “optimization” to describe job duties that require little to no actual work.
  • No References Needed: Legitimate employers usually require references during the recruitment process. The absence of this requirement can be a sign of a scam.
  • Unsolicited Contact: If the job offer comes out of the blue, it’s worth scrutinizing its legitimacy.

With the rise in popularity of the work-from-home lifestyle, more individuals are falling victim to these scams. By the end of 2023, the number of remote workers globally had risen to 28%, according to data from Statista. This trend is likely contributing to the increasing number of people being targeted by fraudulent job offers.

Remote work offers the freedom to choose one’s location, which can be particularly appealing. In a recent interview with Magazine, Canggu-based crypto consultant Dominic Frei shared how he moved his family from Switzerland to Bali in search of a more desirable lifestyle and climate.

YearRemote Workers (%)
202017%
202122%
202225%
202328%

The FBI’s recent warning comes on the heels of alarming statistics about the increase in crypto-related fraud in 2023. On March 9, Cointelegraph cited an FBI report revealing that investment losses involving cryptocurrency had surged from $2.57 billion in 2022 to approximately $3.94 billion in 2023, marking a 53% increase.

YearInvestment Losses (USD)% Increase
2022$2.57 billion
2023$3.94 billion53%

Work-from-home job scams are just one method criminals use to steal cryptocurrency. Another prevalent type is the romance scam, where a fraudster adopts a fake online identity to gain the victim’s affection and trust. Once a relationship is established, the scammer creates a story to persuade the victim to send cryptocurrency, only to disappear afterward.

How to Protect Yourself

To safeguard against these scams, consider the following tips:

  • Verify the Employer: Always research the company offering the job. Check for reviews and validate their business existence.
  • Be Wary of Upfront Payments: Legitimate employers do not require payments to start work. Be suspicious if asked to pay for anything upfront.
  • Check the Job Details: Vague job descriptions and the lack of clear responsibilities are red flags.
  • Secure Your Accounts: Use two-factor authentication (2FA) and ensure your cryptocurrency wallets are secured with strong, unique passwords.
  • Report Suspicious Activity: If you suspect a job offer might be a scam, report it to the authorities and relevant platforms.

The allure of working from home can make it easy to overlook red flags in job offers. However, the FBI’s warning serves as a crucial reminder to remain vigilant and skeptical of any request for cryptocurrency payments in exchange for employment. By staying informed and cautious, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these sophisticated scams.


Featured image credit: Freepik

Dayne Lee

With a foundation in financial day trading, I transitioned to my current role as an editor, where I prioritize accuracy and reader engagement in our content. I excel in collaborating with writers to ensure top-quality news coverage. This shift from finance to journalism has been both challenging and rewarding, driving my commitment to editorial excellence.

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