SINGAPORE – When he received a Telegram message on Dec 29 last year advertising a data optimisation job that required only two hours’ effort a day, Mr Lee thought he could make easy money.
The job promised a daily salary of $80 to $120, a woman who gave her name as Mei Juan told him over text messages.
The 32-year-old administrative assistant, who declined to give his full name, thought that all he needed to do was click on buttons on a website to boost the data of selected items.
He was told it would increase the sales of a furniture company overseas, and that he would be working for a marketing software company.
“I Googled the (software) company and saw it has a presence in Singapore. The woman who approached me even suggested we could meet face to face, to teach me how to use the website,” said Mr Lee.
He suggested a video call instead, but the “recruiter” said she did not feel comfortable doing so as someone she had previously tried to recruit had appeared half-naked over the Zoom call.
Mr Lee decided to accept the offer anyway.
Following Mei Juan’s instructions, he created an account on the purported software company’s website.
He had to complete 45 orders every day by clicking on two buttons on the site, which he was told would optimise data of the “furniture” items.
The cost of each item varied, but could go up to a few thousand dollars.
When he first started clicking the buttons, the website showed that a few hundred dollars were available. It was not his money.
As he clicked the buttons, the amount dropped quickly.
As he could not proceed with the data optimisation task, Mr Lee asked Mei Juan for help.
She told him he had to top up the account via PayNow by transferring his money to a mobile number she provided.
Mei Juan promised him a 30 per cent commission for each order he completed.