‘Work from phone’ scam making its rounds in southern Ontario


Published April 6, 2024 at 4:30 pm

Latest sophisticated job recruiting scam in southern Ontario

Those who have recently been laid off and facing financial struggles, or are contemplating a career shift might encounter unsolicited job offers that appear promising. However, it’s important to exercise caution, as these unexpected emails, text messages, or phone calls may actually be scams.

In this recent scam, fraudsters will send text messages to potential victims.

Operating under fictitious names, the scammers adopt a friendly demeanour, claiming to be from a recruitment agency. Adding a layer of deception, they will often use names of legitimate companies,  misleading individuals into believing the job offer is genuine.

In this scenario, the message starts with an apology before presenting details about a new, online-based job opportunity. It suggests the recipient could be among the 1,000 individuals selected for a remote media role with the company. It then outlines the job responsibilities.

At first glance, recipients might be inclined to verify the offer’s legitimacy by checking the origin of the area code, which is often traced back to international locations such as the Philippines or different provinces within Canada. However, this particular message displays a 226 area code, indicating it originates from Ontario, making it easier for scammers to convince targets of the offer’s authenticity.

Additionally, the message doesn’t mention the company’s name, which is a big red flag. Not knowing the company name means people can’t check if they’ve applied for the job before, making the offer seem even less trustworthy.

The message details attractive job benefits, including no previous work experience. It states an average daily pay of $100 to $200, with the work taking so little time that employees could have 50 to 80 minutes of free time.

An added incentive promises the first 100 hires a chance to win $10. Applicants are also encouraged to reply with the number 1 and follow a WhatsApp link for further information.

According to the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre (CAFC) fraudsters will exploit real businesses, luring victims with freelance job opportunities to promote products, apps, or videos using software they’ve developed.

Once a victim installs the software and creates an account, they’re assigned “orders” or “tasks” to complete. To deceive victims further, they may receive a modest payment or commission, making it seem like the job is “real.”

The CAFC says since Aug. 25 (2023), the company has seen an increase in these job opportunity scams.

Residents are advised never to share personal information with unverified people or groups. This includes information such as their name, address, birthdate, social insurance number, and credit card or banking information.

For extra precautions, individuals should block the number and avoid responding.

The CAFC also offers more helpful tips to avoid falling victim to such scams:

  • Don’t click on links from unsolicited messages
  • Don’t download attachments from unsolicited messages
  • Watch for spelling mistakes
  • Don’t trust a message just because the email address looks legitimate; fraudsters can spoof the address
  • Beware of messages claiming to be from the Government of Canada or a law enforcement agency; they will never contact you to offer funds via email or e-transfer

For more information and to report a suspected scam, see the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website here.

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising