Are you looking for ways online to supplement your income? If so, it’s vital for you to be aware of common scams, such as task scams, that are running rampant online. Task scams are a ruthless type of online scams that prey on victims who are simply looking to grow their income from home. Whether it’s a side hustle or a means to an end, online jobs are becoming more popular, and scammers are taking notice. This article will explain task scams, how they work, and how to identify the red flags before it’s too late.

Task scams go something like this…

Out of the blue, you receive a What’s App message from a random number (the scammer) telling you about an available online job opportunity. Curious about what this entails, you respond to this stranger’s message asking for more information. This stranger happily introduces themselves and instructs you to download an app or visit a certain website to get started. Within this platform, they’ll have arbitrary tasks to complete, such as watching a few YouTube videos or clicking on a few links. Each task comes with a commission you allegedly earn based on how many tasks you complete. So you start completing tasks and watch your commission counter begin to steadily rise.

One day, you complete a task that plunges your commissions into the negative. When you contact the original person (aka the scammer), they’ll tell you your account needs to be re-upped. They may cite the reason for unpaid taxes, unpaid fees, or another made-up type of fee designed to make you not question the reason for sending money. Once you send the money, typically in cryptocurrency, your commission balance will seemingly return to normal. Then, the billing department or customer service (both are not actual departments but scammers) will say that you’ll be refunded for this amount at the end of your next set of tasks. In the meantime, they may even send you cryptocurrency breadcrumbs to manipulate you into thinking they’re really going to send you a big payout. Unfortunately, that day never comes. Once you finish the set of tasks, the scammer will ask for more money, or they’ll disappear altogether. From the beginning, the tasks were bogus, and ultimately the end result is the same; the scammer makes off with your money. 

Red flags of a task scam

Technology is constantly evolving, and unfortunately, scammers are keeping up. Here are a few red flags of a task scam to look out for:

  1. Legitimate employers will never ask for to you input your own money. The purpose of having a job is for them to pay you, don’t let them manipulate you into thinking otherwise. If they ask for your money, end the communication.
  2. Legitimate employers will never require you to pay them in cryptocurrency, and they will never pay you in cryptocurrency. While crypto is still evolving and may be more widespread in the future, it’s currently unregulated security and not acceptable as primary payment to employees.
  3. Legitimate employers will never approach you on What’s App or social media. This is considered a very unprofessional approach, and even if a legitimate employer were to contact you this way, they’d follow up with a more professional approach later. Scammers see this type of communication as “low hanging fruit”; if they can get you to believe they’re legitimate while using unprofessional means, they think they are more likely to get money from you. 

Task scams and other job scams are very common online today. You can better navigate online job opportunities by learning about how these scams work and what red flags to look for. Before moving forward with any job opportunity, review the red flags of the task scam. If it fits just one of these red flags, it’s a scam, and you should report it immediately. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. If it feels even slightly suspicious, it probably is. By learning their tactics, you can outsmart the scammers and avoid becoming a victim of online fraud.

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