A scam is defined as a dishonest scheme or a fraud. While there are many types of scams, the top two scams currently, are job scams and love scams. Many people have suffered losses due to such fraud. In the year 2015, almost RM200 million losses have been reported lost in scams. Highly advanced technology and internet today has become catalysts in scamming people. The scammers trick the victims through online transaction because it is difficult for the police to track them as certainly they will use a fake identity and fake profile picture.

Love scammers normally take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get the victims to provide money, gifts or personal details. A love scam is not easy to detect. With most people chatting online and finding their partners through online dating sites, it is difficult to distinguish a genuine person from a scammer. However, there are a few signs to indicate a love scammer.

The scammer readily shows pictures of himself/herself. Usually it happens even within hours or days of the chat. Most of such pictures maybe shot with models or friends of the scammer. In Malaysia, love scam is also known as African scam because mainly the scammers are from Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Sierra Leonne dan Ivory Coast. The scammers will use fake profile picture of European males. Another sign is, the scammer confess his/her love very quickly sometimes it will only takes a few days of chatting before declaring his/her love. The scammers may buy parcels and send it to your place and request you to mail it to the address mentioned by him/her.

If the goods are stolen stuff, the victim can get into serious trouble. The scammer generally takes more time (than the victim) to respond to chats. This is an indication that the scammer is simultaneously chatting with a lot of victims. The last warning sign of scammer is the money scene comes early which means he/she will asks the victim to help with advance money to seek medical help or for some other reasons. They somehow always promise the victim to pay back the money in double. Love scammers usually will come out with a lot excuses and will never reveal their original identity.

A job scam occurs when a scammer poses as an employer or recruiter, and offers attractive employment opportunities which require that the job seeker pay money in advance. This is usually under the guise of work visas, travel expenses or background and or credit checks that are required for the job. Once the money has been paid, the scammer disappears, and the job seeker is left with no job, and out of pocket.The scammers target job seekers from overseas where they use the lure of huge salaries, work permits and paid travel as ways of enticing the job seeker to part with their money.

These scammers will take advantage of the vulnerable. Sometimes, the victims are not only the average people but very smart people might just have a moment of weakness. The scammers are often sneaky and are becoming more skilled, they managed to mimic the site of a real employer, the design and domain name that are similar to the real company site. It is becoming more difficult to know and differentiate between a scam and a legitimate job opening. Hence the very smart job applicants might have had their guard down and thus fell to their scam. There are few warning signs to recognize the job scam. 

If there any job offer that requires that you pay a fee in advance, it is probably a scam. No legitimate company or recruiter will ask for money upfront. Job scammers typically do not have company’s website and contact details. However, if they have a fake company’s website then compare the contact number with official company’s website. Any recruiter or company that corresponds from a free email account such as Yahoo, Live, Hotmail or Gmail is very likely a scammer.

Legitimate job related emails will come from corporate email accounts. Any job offer without interview is most probably a scam. A reputable company will never offer a job without interviewing. The most important sign of job scam is that they receive job offers from company that they did not apply for. The high salaries always cloud the victims judgmental. The last sign of job scam is that there are few details on job description and that no experience or qualifications are needed for the job.

In conclusion, there are those today that are willing to do anything to earn money and to get rich in the easy way. Some may feel so desperate to get a job or to be loved by somebody but caution is still necessary to prevent us from falling into the fraudsters’ hands. Always be careful when it comes to online job or online dating.

Nur Imani Abdullah
National Consumer Complaints Centre