Online Scammers Repeating the Trick of Deceiving Collaborators, Swindling from a Few Million Dong to Tens of Thousands of USD

After a period of calm, the online scam of "easy high-paying jobs" for freelancers is making a comeback recently, with the scam involving recruiting freelancers to process payments for e-commerce platforms...

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Over recent times, many social media users have shared stories of being scammed online or have asked in groups to verify invitations to work as payment order collaborators for e-commerce platforms.

Many online scams from online collaborators of e-commerce platforms to securities investments, digital currencies… recorded from the end of 2023 to the beginning of 2024 (Screenshot)

Scams ranging from a few hundred VND to tens of thousands of USD

Ms. N.T.T, a new mother in Hanoi, shared that she was invited to participate in a job that can be done online with high commission. The job is to attach product links from cosmetics, household goods, clothing… on e-commerce platforms to Facebook, Zalo… to receive commission from the shops. The average commission is 10,000-500,000 VND/product.

“To participate in this job, they asked me to pay a fee of 399,000 VND. Then, they instructed me to join a group on Telegram. Here I saw many people continuously sending invoices to receive money from a few hundred to millions of VND. From there, I also trustfully participated. After the first 3 orders, I received real money. For the fourth order with a high value, they asked me to send a corresponding deposit fee. Then they said there were problems and needed more money for verification, taxation… until I discovered the issue, my account was blocked and I could not contact them,” Ms. T said.

If those who were scammed of a few hundred to a few million VND like Ms. T lost a few tens of thousands USD when participating in digital currencies, international securities, virtual international investments…

Scammers will lure victims from social media to Telegram, and then easily erase traces

In 2020-2021, functional forces investigated many cases of forex scams (securities trading platforms, digital currencies, electronic currencies…). At the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024, this scam continues to flourish with new disguises such as Etfinvest, Trusty, Ozon corp… with many victims losing thousands of USD.

Only when there is a problem and they cannot recover the money, do the new victims share their stories online. Immediately, besides the advice of everyone to be cautious not to lose more money, many comments and direct messages promise to help recover the money from “online lawyers” and “consultants”, on condition that a fee of 5-10% of the lost amount must be paid in advance.

How scammers exploit the psychology of users

According to Mr. Ngo Minh Hieu (Hieu PC), a security expert at the Anti-Fraud Project, victims of online scams have a psychological fear of reporting to authorities for various reasons, such as lack of evidence, fear of family discovery, fear of affecting their lives, or not knowing the reporting procedures.

“Taking advantage of the desire to recover money, but afraid to report to authorities, this is how scammers continue to find ways to “maximize” their victims. Scammers always use fake accounts, even bank accounts that are not the real deal, making it very difficult for victims to report. Scammers are even so cunning as to fake websites of some large law firms or financial companies to create a facade for deceiving victims,” Mr. Hieu said.

Mr. Truong Duc Luong, Chairman of Vietnam Cybersecurity Company

“One sign is that scammers will approach victims via social media, but then they will request to communicate via Telegram to easily erase evidence from both sides. It can be said that 99% of exchanges leading to Telegram are scams. People need to slow down a bit, reflect, verify before texting, transaction or accepting messages from anyone or anything on the internet,” Mr. Hieu said.

According to Mr. Truong Duc Luong, Chairman of Vietnam Cybersecurity Company (VSEC), at this time perhaps people are more or less aware that information security is extremely important in the 4.0 era of constant connection like today.

“In the Internet environment, the dangers not only attack and negatively affect organizations, businesses, but also have a great impact on each individual. Equipping knowledge about information security has become one of the basic requirements for every internet application user, whether through phones or computers,” Mr. Luong said.

Mr. Luong believes that whether directly or through social media, scams stem from exploiting weaknesses in the behavior of specific individuals or groups, and directing them to reactions that scammers desire. Tricks are used to gain the trust of victims and create new scam situations.

“When discovering signs or becoming victims of scams, people need to quickly report fraudulent behaviors to relevant agencies to minimize risks, damages, and ensure their legitimate rights. However, the main solution is still to raise awareness and overcome weaknesses in the psychology of internet users,” Mr. Luong emphasized.

Scams when buying movie tickets, participating in events online

The Information Security Department, Ministry of Information and Communications also highlighted prominent scams on the Vietnamese cyberspace. Among them are the scam of “financial investment through social media”, the scam of online collaborators “easy job with high salary” and the discovery of scams pretending to be police, prosecutor making phone calls to deceive.

The Information Security Department warns of many cases of scams when buying tickets for the film “Đào, Phở and Piano” on groups on social media

To prevent “falling into traps” of scams, the Information Security Department recommends that people be vigilant against all suspicious, unfamiliar calls; do not follow the requirements and instructions of the perpetrators; especially do not provide personal information such as identity card, ID card, OTP code, bank account number…

In addition to raising awareness, the Information Security Department also suggests that people disseminate information about online collaborator scams to their relatives and friends, to avoid falling into the traps of bad actors. When working as collaborators for companies, businesses, suppliers of goods and services, people need to thoroughly check the information about the goods and the supply unit through many different sources to verify their accuracy.

After the website crashed due to excess access, along with the above-mentioned situation of ticket fraud on social media, the National Cinema Center issued an official announcement: “Tickets for the film ‘Đào, Phở and Piano’ are currently only sold directly at the ticket counter, not online”.

SOURCEcafef
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