Backpackers in Australia warned of job offer scam

Consumer protection official urges caution over requests for fees to secure accommodation and work

Backpackers in Australia have been told to be suspicious of businesses that seek deposits to secure employment.

Backpackers in Australia have been told to be suspicious of businesses that seek deposits to secure employment.

 

Irish backpackers in Australia are at risk of being scammed by fake businesses offering employment, according to Australian officials.

Anne Driscoll, commissioner for consumer protection in Western Australia, said it is common for scammers to target travellers who have just arrived in the country and are trying to secure employment and accommodation.

Yesterday the Irish Echo, a Sydney-based Irish newspaper, reported a Co Cork couple had exposed one such employment scam.

Kieran Newton and Ashling Murphy got in touch over the internet with a man who claimed to own an orange farm in Manjimup. The man asked Ms Murphy to transfer 200 Australian dollars (€135) into his bank account to secure two weeks’ accommodation on the farm.

The couple became suspicious and contacted the police who confirmed that the website was a scam and the farm did not exist.

“Travellers should be instantly suspicious when an employment agent asks for fees to be paid to secure the job and the accompanying accommodation,” Ms Driscoll said.

“There have been many cases where backpackers have been left out of pocket after handing over their money and giving their personal details, only to find out afterwards that the job doesn’t exist and they have become the victim of a scam.

In Western Australia, employment agents must be licensed and are not permitted to charge fees to prospective employees.

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