In a recent advisory, the FBI warned of the risks associated with fraudulent job advertisements in Southeast Asia, particularly those related to labor trafficking, where victims are forced to participate in international cryptocurrency investment scams against their will.
Criminal groups have been using social media platforms and online job portals to post deceptive job advertisements for positions as diverse as tech support, call center customer service and salon technicians. The ads promise competitive salaries, attractive benefits, and paid travel and lodging. However, once job seekers go overseas, they find themselves in a nightmare situation.
Through various coercive measures employed by criminals, victims are imprisoned, intimidated and forced to participate in cryptocurrency investment schemes.
These measures may include the confiscation of passports and travel documents, threats of violence, and even outright physical violence.
Using travel and lodging costs as an excuse, traffickers pass the debt onto their victims, using mounting debt and fear of local law enforcement as additional means of control.
Some trafficked persons were also sold and moved between different compounds, further exacerbating their debt and precarious situation.
Once victims are involved in exploitative networks, their freedoms are curtailed and their personal and financial autonomy is systematically eroded. The criminals behind these scams manipulate victims into participating in cryptocurrency investment scams with the aim of profiting from them.