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'It was all my savings': Ontario woman loses $15K to fake Walmart job scam

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A woman who recently moved to Canada from India was searching for a job when she got caught in an online job scam and lost $15,000.

"$15,000 is not a small amount, it was all my savings. There were days when I would just sit and cry,” said Toronto resident Davanshi Poddar.

Poddar moved to Toronto in 2022 and was searching for a job last year when she saw an employment posting on Instagram.

"There was an ad stating that Walmart was looking for part-time employees and you could work from home,” said Poddar.

Recognizing Walmart she assumed the job posting was legitimate, applied and was hired. Poddar was told the job involved promoting Walmart products online.

"They would send a list of products every hour and we just had to go there and add these products to a cart and send a screenshot that it was done,” said Poddar.

Over time she was told to use her own money to buy expensive products and that she would later be reimbursed. While it appeared her money was being given back to her in a separate account, it never was and Poddar was eventually scammed out of $15,000.

“Being in a new country you have questions in mind, but you also want to trust the process,” said Poddar.

CTV News Toronto reached out to Walmart and a spokesperson said, “We take concerns of this nature very seriously. We’re sorry to hear about this incident. I can confirm Walmart Canada’s recruitment ads on social media link to our careers site.”

“We also want to make it clear we would never ask anyone for money to apply for a job. Additionally, we encourage anyone who is the victim of a scam to contact police.”

Social media experts say complicating matters is the fact that some companies are using social media platforms to find employees, meaning applicants have to be extremely careful they don't get caught in a scam.

Mohit Rajhans with Think Smart Inc. said, “There are many people who are being scammed just by looking at opportunities online."

Rajhans said anyone looking for a job has to research the position carefully, do their due diligence and watch out for red flags.

“The immediate red flag would be the amount of money that's required to join or be part of any job upfront,” said Rajhans.

Signs of a job scam include being asked to send money in advance, you're told to cover purchases with your funds, you're asked to provide your bank details upfront, there is no in-person or video interview and the job involves easy mundane tasks.

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, the job scam is now the fourth most popular scam in Canada and Canadians lost more than $27 million to employment scams in 2023. 

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