With the cost of living on the rise, many Australians are looking for ways to increase their income. Maybe there’s a new job out there that will pay a little better? Or a second job might be handy for some extra cash? Unfortunately, a growing concern demands our attention – the prevalence of employment scams.

Over the past 10 months Australians have lost more than $22 million to job scams. This staggering figure represents a troubling 700% increase compared to the previous year.

Scammers will promote what seem like legitimate job ads on social media sites like WhatsApp, Facebook, TikTok and Instagram. Sometimes they will even impersonate genuine organisations and recruiters.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) National Anti-Scam Centre, scammers frequently utilise fake job offers, manipulating individuals into sending money under the guise of recruitment or training fees, often promising guaranteed income in exchange for an upfront payment.

Unlike other scams where people aged 65 and over are reported to lose the greatest amount of money to scams, the biggest losses to job scams are hopeful Australian job seekers aged between 25 and 44. 

How can I protect myself:

  • Check/research that a job or recruiter is real with an independent search of their website or by calling them at a number you have sourced yourself. (Avoid using the contact details or links provided in the ad).
  • Don’t be pressured into making immediate decisions or taking immediate action at any time.
  • Be suspicious of guaranteed income for little effort or if the role is offered to you without an interview (usually if it seems too good to be true, it is).
  • A legitimate job offer will not require you to make an immediate decision.
  • Be cautious of recruiters that contact you via social media.
  • Avoid any arrangement that asks you to receive or forward payments as part of your job. 
  • Don't engage in any agreement that demands upfront payment through methods such as bank transfer, PayID, or cryptocurrency. Retrieving funds sent through these channels is typically challenging.

Australians have lost more than $429 million to scams in total since January 2023, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) Scamwatch, with scams relating to investment topping the list, followed by scams related to dating as being the biggest threats.

In the middle of 2023, the National Anti-Scam Centre has been established with the hope of lessening the impact of scams on Australians by reducing money loss.

Some key initiatives to remember:  

  • STOP - Take your time before giving money or personal information.
  • THINK - Ask yourself could the message or call be fake?
  • PROTECT- Act quickly if something feels wrong.

Reporting scams:  

If you become the victim of a scam or you spot a scam, report it to the site on which it is found and at Scamwatch. If you have lost any money, then contact your bank immediately.

Australian Mutual Bank members can speak to our Fraud Team by calling 13 61 91 or by emailing info@australianmutual.bank.

For more advice on how to avoid scams and what to do if you or someone you know is a victim of a scam, see our Security Advice section or visit the Scamwatch website.



02 January 2024