Newly hired employee scam, involving WeChat, emerges in Richmond

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      While those searching for new jobs may feel relieved after they are hired by a new employer, a fraud scheme appearing in the Lower Mainland is reason for caution.

      Richmond RCMP issued a public alert today (January 16) that in this scam, a new employee is hired without a face-to-face interview. The employer and others involved in the scam will use the social media app WeChat as the preferred means of communication.

      After being hired, the new employee is asked to open a bank account on behalf of their boss or employer.

      The employee is asked to be an intermediary in a currency exchange between the boss and a client. The exchange will involve the conversion of foreign currency into Canadian currency.

      Once the client provides the currency for exchange at a favourable exchange rate, the employee will be expected to deposit the currency on behalf of the client.

      After the client’s money is deposited, the employer will withdraw it.

      However, the client does not receive any currency in exchange and their original deposit is gone.

      As a result, the client will view the employee as the instigator or suspect, which could lead to potential criminal consequences.

      Richmond RCMP stated that they have had one case of this scam to date. However, variations of this scam exist and have occurred in other jurisdictions and Richmond RCMP are anticipating other occurrences.  

      “Jeopardy is attached when using any type of social media app and is especially dangerous when an app is based in a foreign country and permits monetary transactions,” Richmond Cpl. Dennis Hwang stated in a news release.

      Anyone who may have been a victim of this scam or a similar one is asked to contact Richmond RCMP or the police of their jurisdiction.