Electronic job

SEC warns of new wave of online job scams

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has launched a crackdown on a wave of Ponzi-style “recharge and task” scams.

“The public is hereby advised not to invest or stop investing in these recharge and task scams and their representatives,” the business regulator said in a July 12 notice.

Also known as ‘click fraud’ and ‘order taking’ scams, the recharging and dispatching scheme works by luring unsuspecting victims into participating in bogus online jobs, supposedly in partnership with major e-commerce platforms.

Here they perform tasks such as helping fulfill e-commerce orders to earn commissions. Victims are also encouraged to invest their own money, which helps to top up or “top up” to earn bigger incentives.

According to the SEC, victims are offered investment packages ranging from P100 to P50,000 to earn commissions of 2-8%. “Invitation Rewards” worth 10,000 to 100,000 pesos are also promised if they recruit others.

The SEC said these scammers claim to work with major e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Shopee, Lazada and Ebay.

The scam usually lasts up to a month. The websites or links used are then deactivated and the authors change the name of their entities and websites.

“[R]Billing and task scams show indication of a possible ‘Ponzi scheme’ where money from new investors is used to pay ‘fake profits’ to previous investors and is designed primarily to favor its best recruiters and prior risk takers and is detrimental to subsequent members in the event of a shortage of new investors,” the SEC said.

“The offer and sale of securities in the form of investment contracts using the ‘Ponzi scheme’, which is fraudulent and unsustainable, is not a registrable security. The Commission will not issue a license to sell securities to the public to persons or entities who are engaged in this business or scheme,” he added.

The perpetrators face up to 21 years in prison and a maximum fine of 5 million pesos under the Securities Regulation Code.

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