The number of scams involving false job offers or adverts was nearly three times as high in the first four months of this year when compared to 2014. The internet is becoming the tool of choice for fraudsters.
In some cases, police said, the victims never met their scammers. They only talked to them through social networking websites or instant messaging apps, the police said.
Jacqueline Yeung Hiu-tung, from the Commercial Crime Bureau, said 11 cases were reported from January to April this year. The 11 scams involved a total of HK$303,390. Three cases in the same period last year involved HK$25,500.
This year's scams involved 11 victims aged from 16 to 46. The police arrested 20 people in connection with the incidents.
"Scammers targeted victims mostly via the internet or by contact on the street," Yeung said.
She said scammers might tell their victims they can arrange work for them. But they would then steal a deposit or application fee paid by the jobseeker. Scammers have also been known to trick them into borrowing from money lenders before disappearing, she said. They might also use victims' personal information for illegal purposes.
But there are some warning signs you can look out for. "If the content of a website is too simple, if you need to hand over money beforehand, or you are asked to provide personal information, such adverts could likely be scams," said Bessie Fun Pui-pik from the Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau.