Job and employment scams

Job and employment scams trick you into handing over money by offering you a chance to make fast money or get a high-paying job with very little effort.

The scammer will often approach you via phone, online advertising, letter, email or social media. The offer will usually include amazing claims of making money quickly. These scams are particularly attractive to people who are out of work or mothers looking after children at home.

The scam requires you to pay a fee to receive materials and a starter pack. It could be about stuffing envelopes or something similar, regardless, the scam is all about the money you have to pay to receive the materials, not about the work you need to do. Once the fee is paid you may never receive anything. You could also be encouraged to get family and friends to join the scheme. If the scam involves some work, you might not get paid on completion. This scam is all about avoiding Australia’s work laws.

Another type of job opportunity involves using your bank account to send and receive payments. You are promised a commission for every transfer. This is most likely a money laundering operation and is highly illegal in Australia. Handing over your bank account details allows criminal organisations to access your money and use your bank accounts for a variety of illegal activities.

Report all scams to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s ScamWatch website.

If you have incurred a financial loss, report it to your local Police. Please also let us know about the scam here at NT Consumer Affairs on 08 8999 1999 or 1800 019 319 or at so that we can warn others.

Warning signs

Watch out for these job and employment scam warning signs:

  • You see advertising online or in local newspapers for work-from-home opportunities with high pay.
  • The message asks you to provide personal details or a fee for more information about the job or start-up materials.
  • You are asked to transfer money on behalf of someone else, which could be money laundering.

How to protect yourself

Always be highly suspicious of any claim that you can earn money easily. It’s a common theme running through many scams. Always remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it usually means it is!

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited 'work from home' opportunities or job offers, particularly those that offer a 'guaranteed income' or require you to pay an upfront fee.
  • If the job involves making or selling a certain type of product or service do your research. Is it a real product or service and is there a demand for it in your area?
  • Ask for references from other people who have done the work or used the product. Follow up these references and speak to these people.
  • Do not deal with an employer or company that does not have a street address, they can be difficult to contact or trace later if things go wrong.
  • If an employer of a company claims to have a company address, use Google Maps street view to ensure the business exists.
  • Check the business website but remember that websites can be easily created now and they look highly professional. You can screenshot products and staff images that appear on the website and Google reverse image search them. If they are used elsewhere with different names or details you have found a fake website. Please notify NT Consumer Affairs immediately.
  • Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
  • Never agree to transfer money for someone else - this is money laundering and it is a criminal offence.

Last Updated:
18 Dec 2020

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