Caucasian male FBI agent wearing glasses in a green bulletproof vest with FBI logo seen from behind on the investigation spot

FBI issues warning against fake digital currency jobs in Southeast Asia

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released a public advisory warning U.S. residents over the spread of fake job advertisements in Southeast Asia.

According to the May 22 warning, the FBI stated that U.S. citizens risk falling victim to job scams advertised for their competitive salaries and lucrative benefits. A classic trick used by the bad actors is to inform the victim that the job interview location has been shifted to lure them to foreign countries.

The report notes that victims are often trafficked to “scam compounds” in Southeast Asia, where they are forced to participate in digital asset fraud. Because of their English language prowess, the victims are urged to defraud individuals of their digital assets in various schemes.

“Upon job seekers’ arrival in the foreign country, criminal actors use multiple means to coerce them to commit cryptocurrency investment schemes, such as confiscation of passports and travel documents, threat of violence, and use of violence,” the FBI’s warning read.

Victims are told that to earn their freedom, they will have to earn an amount that offsets their debt to their captors for their housing or feeding. Often, victims are traded among scam compounds to increase their debt profile while stoking fears of the local law enforcement authorities as a means to exercise control.

The FBI shares some tips for residents to protect themselves from the scam, including conducting proper research before accepting a job offer. One red flag to look out for is the use of high salaries and vague language in the company’s description.

“If you plan on relocating to a different country for a new job, inform family and friends of employment details, to include contact information from the job advertisement,” the FBI said.

Victims of labor trafficking are urged to report to the nearest U.S. embassy or report any suspicious activity via its website.

Busting a syndicate

In November 2022, a lawmaker in the Philippines drew attention to a large-scale human trafficking ring involving a Chinese syndicate using Filipino citizens for digital asset scams. Details from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed that the syndicate preferred residents from the Philippines over their affordability and English proficiency.

Job seekers are lured to Thailand under the promise of high-paying jobs as customer service representatives or data encoders. Upon arrival, the job seekers are trafficked to nearby Myanmar, where they are coerced into participating in digital asset scams under the threat of extreme violence or starvation.

CoinGeek Weekly Livestream with Bryan Daugherty: BSV Provides Solutions for Cybersecurity & Fraud

YouTube video

New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.