Almost every week here at FruitPickingJobs.com.au we recive emails from working holiday makers that have been scammed by someone pretending to be a employer via sites like Gumtree. These emails have arrived in our inbox on a regular basis since we started Fruit Picking Jobs back in 2011. In fact, this is an email we received 19 minutes ago by a couple from sweden:
Hi Fruit Picking Jobs,
A few days ago we found out that we had gotten a job we had searched through “Gumtree” in Toowoomba (QLD). A job with 6 day work 10 hours a day with 20 AUD per hour. So we rented a camper van in Sydney and took us up to Toowoomba today. We had paid our accommodation in advance (2 weeks stay) was (400AUD) and had the address we were moving into. When we got up to Toowoomba today and knocked on the house lived a family there and they did not know what we talked about, so we tried calling the person we got a job off, but then we just came to a voice mailbox is full with the message. We tested sending an email, but received email back to the email address was deleted. We have been victims of fraud, lost a lot of money for the rent of camping van, petrol, accommodation money and time. Please see attached files which we took a screen print of the email we received when we “got the job”. We will do a police report tomorrow.
These types of Scams seems impossible to stop since the con artists move quickly. They create a “one time” email, bank account and company identity. Then they Collect as many payments in advance for accommodation and other so called “work related” fees as they can and then vanish.
The sad thing is that we are as helpless as you are when it comes to stop or hunt these people down. The only thing we can do is to make other people aware of the situation and hope that this will not happen to the next person in line..
How to limit the risk of being scammed:
Do not pay for accommodation in advance.
Keep in mind that most farms do not provide their workers with accommodation. Some do, and if they ask you to pay upfront I think you should consider it fishy.
Do not pay for work fees in advance.
When working in a farm in Australia you do not need to pay any work related fees. You might sometimes need to pay for tags and tag bag but this can easily be deducted from you first weeks salary.
Check up the company or farm name
Can you find anything online about the farm or company? We are aware that not all farms has website but is always a good indication if they do.
Check for recent scams in our SCAM Forum
I created the scam forum as I was writing this post. If everyone posts their scam stories here, other people could easily avoid yet another scamming incident. We also post regular updates about fruit picking scams on Fruit Picking Jobs blog.
The couple mentioned above is not alone, here is another example:
My boyfriend and I have identified what we believe is a scam, advertised as a fruit picking job in South-Western WA. I have forwarded the email exchange, which I initiated off the back of an advert we saw on gumtree. The Ad has now been deleted, but the original text can still be seen via the Farmwork 23 website.
We became suspicious because he was pressing us to pay accommodation money upfront “a week in advance”, and he never supplied a company or farm name. A google search of his name, the address provided, and the “Fresh Grapes” name implied in the (easy to set up) email address returned absolutely nothing. Also, the account he wanted money transferred to was in his own personal name, and the BSB on lookup appears to connected to a prepaid card in QLD, not WA. I chased with questions to try and get him to provide more info, but no response.
Please can you add a warning on your facebook page and let Fair Work Australia know? I’d hate to think anyone might have fallen for this (we almost did!).
Have you been scammed?
If you have been scammed you should report the crime to your local police office and also get in contact with Fair Work Australia. As soon as you have received the police report you should contact you insurance company and they should be able to reimburse the loss since you’ve been a victim of crime. You should also make other people aware of the situation by posting the information in our fruit picking scam forum.
We are tired of this! Let’s put an end to the scamming once and for all. Please share this article with friends and other working holiday makers!
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