Scam alert: Jobs and ‘side hustle’ scams


Scammers are using fake job ads to attract job seekers looking for extra income.

Of all scam types, jobs and employment scams grew the fastest in 2023, costing Australians $24.7 million. This has almost tripled losses from these scams in 2022.

These scams target people wanting to earn extra money through a second job or ‘side-hustle’.

Scammers offer them online work from home, where you have to pay money before you can start earning it.

How to spot this scam

  • You see an ad on social media, or get a message through WhatsApp, offering jobs to ‘boost’ product ratings or reviews on a website.
  • They claim to be well-known department stores, online stores, hotels, travel companies, app developers, streaming services or marketing agencies.
  • The job offers good pay rates or guaranteed income, flexible hours and work from home.
  • You need to pay money first to complete tasks, but they promise you will get it back plus ‘commissions’.
  • They say you don’t need experience or paperwork, and they will train you.
  • The website might look a bit different to the real one. For example, it might not have a ‘’ or ‘.com’ even though it’s an Australian store.

Examples of jobs and employment scams

Jobs and employment scam - example 1
Jobs and employment scam - example 2
Jobs and employment scam - example 3

How the scam works

These scams often pretend to be well-known brands and advertise through WhatsApp messages or social media.

These ads offer ‘work from home’, ‘flexible hours’, or a ‘guaranteed income’.

The ‘jobs’ involve ‘boosting’ the ratings of products and services through an online platform, or liking social media posts. You have to ‘invest’ money first, but the scammer says you’ll get this back plus a ‘commission’.

The money is often paid using cryptocurrency. Scammers might help to set up these accounts.

The scam feels like a video game, where you ‘level up’ to get higher commissions by completing tasks and paying more money.

When you want to get your money out, you have to pay more money first. Eventually you lose it all.

Find out more about job scams

Scammers work hard to confuse us and manipulate our feelings. They want us to say ‘yes’ before we think things through.

Find out more about how to spot and avoid scams and other types of jobs and employment scams.

If you’re not sure about an offer, or something doesn’t feel right, delete and block. Never click the link.

Protect yourself

  • Be careful of people contacting you through encrypted message platforms like WhatsApp.
  • Never use links in messages. Always look up the website, phone number or email address yourself and use these to check if the job is real.
  • Never send money or give personal information, credit card, bank or cryptocurrency account details to someone you don’t know.
  • Don’t make up-front payments by bank transfer, PayID or cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin. You probably won’t get any of this money back.
  • Take your time, stop and think. Don’t let someone push you to act quickly. If it’s a real offer, they won’t make you decide immediately. Something that seems too good to be true probably is.

Find out more about this type of jobs and ‘side hustle’ scams.

If you’ve been affected

If you’ve lost money to a scammer, contact your bank or card provider immediately to report the scam. Ask them to stop any transactions.

If you’ve shared personal details, contact IDCARE on 1800 595 160 or visit their website.

Report scams to Scamwatch to help us disrupt scams and warn others.


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