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Job scams

See how job scammers may try to get in the way of your dreams


Increasingly prevalent, job scams involve scammers that try to trick their targets into handing over money, or personal and financial details. They do so through unsolicited offers that promise low effort yet high-paying jobs or ‘guaranteed’ ways of generating fast income.


Job scams come in many forms and can include:

Agent job scams

  • Employ targets as agents of a fake company
    One common job scam involves ‘employers’ that hire targets to act as agents for a company. They will ask to use the target’s bank account to receive and transfer money to another, foreign company via online banking or money transfer services (e.g. Western Union or MoneyGram). In exchange, the target will get a commission for each transfer. This is likely money laundering in action.

Affiliate marketing scams

  • Get targets to perform simple tasks online
    Targets may receive unsolicited messages or come across advertisements promoting highly paid part-time affiliate marketing jobs that involve scammers claiming to pay a commission to users for boosting viewership of social media posts and videos by liking these posts, or reviewing hotels and restaurants. To perform these jobs and earn commissions, targets are asked to sign up for accounts on websites or apps provided by the scammers, where they purportedly offer packages for jobs with varying commissions paid per task.

    Targets are instructed to sign up for these packages by making upfront payments to unknown bank accounts before they can start the job to earn commissions. Following which, once the ‘job’ starts, scammers may try to convince victims that they are doing legitimate work by paying out smaller commissions, before eventually stopping and disappearing with their victim’s money.

  • Ask targets to pay for products
    Targets are approached to become sellers or service providers for scammers posing as a legitimate company or as representatives of a credible seller. The scammers will ask targets to pay for products in advance – supposedly to help improve sales.

  • Make false promises of refunds
    Targets are promised a full refund from their purchases – on top of an attractive commission. To build trust, targets will be duly compensated for the first few purchases. However, they will be asked to pay for increasingly expensive items or asked to recruit others to increase their commissions. The scammers will eventually stop compensating the targets once large sums of money have been spent. They will disappear with the victims’ money.

  • Offer fake assembly job
    Scammers, posing as an ‘employer’, may hire targets to assemble products using materials they have to buy from the ‘employer’. To get the job, targets will be asked to buy a starter kit or these materials in advance. Targets may then not receive any materials; if they do, the materials may not be what was promised and could include instructions to recruit others in exchange for a commission.

  • In some instances, once the target has completed the work, the ‘employer’ will make excuses to refuse paying for some, or all of, the work.

Male social escort job scams

  • Scammers may ask for fees (e.g. registration fee) before they will supposedly introduce their targets to wealthy female clients. Targets will never be introduced to any such client.

Tactics may vary by job scam type. Some common tactics are provided below.

The approach:

The fraud:

  • Spot the signs

    Do not accept dubious or unsolicited job offers that offer lucrative rewards for little effort. These are usually scams.

  • Be sceptical

    Be suspicious of vague job descriptions, unsolicited ‘work from home’ opportunities or job offers, and ‘employers’ or ‘recruiters’ who do not use an email address tied to an organisation.

    Be wary of communications that do not address you by name or which do not include a street address (only an email address or a PO box).

  • Do not act

    Do not pay to receive more information or materials about a job offer or job.

    Do not pay to secure a job offer. No legitimate organisation will ask you to pay to secure a job offer or require you to sign up for a paid membership before you can start work.

    Do not apply for a job that requires you to download and create an account on unverified apps from unknown sources.

  • Do your research

    Stay away from employers that do not have a street address and a registered company number that you can verify as being legitimate – they can be difficult to trace if you do run into any issues with them. If you have an unsolicited job offer that appears to be from a legitimate company, make sure to verify its legitimacy with the hiring company directly (e.g. through the recruitment section on their website or by contacting their Human Resources department).

  • Keep your details secure

    Never give out your Online Banking login credentials, card details or One-Time Passwords (OTPs) to anyone.

  • Protect your account(s)

    Do not transfer money to or agree to receive money from people you do not know. Be responsible for all transactions carried out under your account(s) and do not allow your ‘employers’ to use your account(s) to make transactions. You could be laundering money for criminals – a criminal offense that carries a hefty fine of up to S$500,000 and prison time of up to 10 years.

  • Be alert

    Get transaction notifications via SMS, email, or push notification (e-Alerts).To change the threshold limits for when you receive e-Alerts, go to OCBC Internet Banking > Customer service > Manage e-Alerts.

    Always read your notifications carefully and call us immediately if the transactions shown are not made by you.

  • Protect your phone

    If you have an iOS device, consider downloading the ScamShield app – it blocks unsolicited messages and calls. Visit www.scamshield.org.sg to find out more.


Call us

If you believe you have fallen prey to such scams and/or your OCBC account details/funds may be or may have been compromised, please call our Personal Banking hotline at 6363 3333 (or +65 6363 3333 if you are overseas) and press 8 to report fraud or temporarily freeze all your accounts and cards.

Contact the Police and file a report

You can file a police report online or in person at a police station

Find out what information you will need to share if you have fallen prey to a scam.

Contact the platforms involved

Report the scammer to the e-commerce platform, social media website or classified ads website that you purchased the product from and/or where the scammer approached you.

Spread the word

Tell others you know of your experience to help educate and protect them. You can also share your stories on social media or anonymously at www.scamalert.sg.

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