23rd March 2023 – (Hong Kong) A man in Hong Kong fell victim to a sophisticated online scam that promised work-life balance and additional income. The victim, who wished to remain anonymous, was approached via WhatsApp by a woman named Winnie who passed of as an agent from Ambition Recruitment based in Wan Chai who claimed to be a sales representative for a USA-based company called ‘Pre-APPS‘. After a few months of exchanging messages, Joanna convinced the victim to sign up for the company’s website, which initially seemed legitimate. However, things took a turn for the worse when the system started throwing “combination tasks” at him, causing him to lose over HK$640,000.
The victim recounted that he completed three sets of 40 tasks each over the course of a week, depositing over HK$630,000 in the process. However, when he tried to withdraw the funds, he was told that he needed to upgrade his membership to gold status. Despite completing more tasks and depositing even more money, the victim was still unable to withdraw his funds. In fact, the scam site began demanding that he deposit even more money, threatening to freeze his funds if he didn’t comply.
After realising that he had been scammed, the victim filed a police report and attempted to contact the customer service department of Pre-APPS. However, the website had been shut down and the customer service representatives had stopped responding to his messages. The victim was left with no recourse and no way to retrieve his lost funds. He later discovered that the scam site was now registered under a different domain name, HK-CUBIX.COM, but it too was down.
Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their tactics, and it’s easy to fall prey to their deception. These scams come in many forms, from investment schemes to romance scams, and can be difficult to detect.
Ambition Hong Kong shared on its website to raise awareness in the community about the growing number of individuals who are falsely impersonating employees of recruitment firms. Ambition has become aware of scammers who are pretending to be Ambition employees on messaging platforms such as Telegram and WhatsApp. These scammers may also replace their profile pictures with the Ambition logo or other images, create fake virtual business cards or social media accounts.
These scammers are actively reaching out to members of the Hong Kong public with job opportunities that seem attractive through these messaging platforms. These job opportunities often come with high salaries or commissions, or ways to earn extra income. As part of the scam, victims may be asked to share their Hong Kong ID numbers, phone numbers, and even be asked for money through bank transfers, wire transfers, Faster Payment System (FPS), or PayMe.