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Fake boss scam on WeChat making the rounds, warn Metro Vancouver police

The scam involves a newly-hired employee being asked over the app to open a bank account for their employer
Richmond RCMP are warning of an emerging scam in Richmond, where an employee is hired by a fake boss over WeChat. File photo

Richmond RCMP are warning of a scam involving fake job postings and currency exchanges on WeChat.

Through the scam, a new employee is hired or recruited without any face-to-face interview, with Chinese social media app WeChat being the preferred method of communication.

Once hired, according to RCMP, the new employee is asked to open a bank account on behalf of the employer.

Then, the employee is asked to act as an intermediary in a currency exchange between their boss and a third party, understood to be a client.

But the client, who sent foreign currency to the account so it could be exchanged to Canadian dollars at a favourable rate, never receives the money.

Instead, the boss withdraws the currency once it’s deposited, according to RCMP, and the client never receives any Canadian currency in exchange and loses their original deposit. 

Because it’s up to the employee to initiate the deposit of the currency, they could face unintended criminal consequences, according to RCMP, as the client views them as the instigator or suspect once the money is gone.

“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,” said Cpl. Dennis Hwang with the Richmond RCMP.

“To date, we have seen one instance of this type of scam. We anticipate other occurrences may be forthcoming with awareness of this type of scam.”

Variations of the scam could exist, added Hwang, and may have occurred in areas outside of Richmond.

Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a similar scam is urged to call Richmond RCMP or their local police.

Read more from the Richmond News