A 47-year-old job seeker lost HK$950,000 to scammers who convinced him to buy numerous iPhone handsets for a commission of HK$1,000 each.
The victim did not get the commission after he was persuaded to sign up for expensive telecommunication service plans while the scammers took the iPhones away, am730 reports.
Police recorded 13 cases of employment fraud in the first four months of the year, with the victims losing a combined HK$1.19 million, up sharply from 11 cases involving HK$300,000 in the same period in 2015.
Police called on job seekers, especially students looking for summer jobs, to stay vigilant to avoid falling prey to fraudsters.
Wong Ho, senior inspector at the Fraud Division of the Commercial Crime Bureau, said many swindlers would recruit job seekers on social media platforms, offering them a commission of up to HK$1,000 for every handset they buy and resell.
Other fraudsters claim they need to perform a credit audit on the job seeker, allowing them to take their victims’ credit cards and use them for illegal transactions, Wong said.
There were 33 employment fraud cases last year, up by seven from 2014, with HK$1.29 million involved, police sources said.
The youngest victim, only 14 at the time, was asked to purchase mobile game credits. The teenager was only paid a small commission but never got back the principal sum of HK$6,000.
Poon Ngok-him, acting chief inspector at the Fraud Division of the Commercial Crime Bureau, said fraudsters would usually meet their prospective victims in public places such as a park or a cafe, instead of asking them to come to their office.
In some of the cases, job seekers were asked to pay guarantee money amounting to several hundred or thousands of dollars as fees for referral or application of permits.
Poon urged job seekers to be wary of employment advertisements that promise high return and require no academic qualifications and work experience.
Ads that only provide a telephone number are also highly suspicious, he said.
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