Tips to avoid job scams
“By far the biggest indicator that a vacancy is not legitimate is if the poster attempts to solicit money from the applicant.” ~ Claire Cobbledick, Head of Marketing, Gumtree South Africa.
When there’s a downturn in the economy, and jobs become scarce, there are unscrupulous people who try to make money out of desperate job seekers. In fact they have a variety of often ingenious tricks to catch the unwary – and if you fall for any one of their scams, you will find yourself not only out of a job but also out of pocket as well. So beware!
Cautionary tales: what to look out for:
- Your first indication is often that the prospective employer wants you to pay a fee, even a nominal fee, to register your CV on their site, or to process your CV for consideration.
- Your next concern might be that they want to hire you without an interview – and they can entice you to fall for this with great offers of remuneration or even overseas travel. Equally bad would be if they do want to interview you and expect you to pay for that. This includes recruitment agencies who are not allowed to charge an interview fee.
- Any requests to provide credit card, bank account numbers and any personal details are a huge red flag if no proper, authentic, proven recruitment process has taken place. Don’t hand over sensitive personal information until you’ve been successfully placed.
- Their salary seems to hover in mid-air when it comes to payday, with the promise that it may take a week or two to reflect.
- If they have contacted you (and not the other way around) and insist on paying you a large sum of money but urgently need your banking details, say no, no matter how flattering and lucrative it sounds.
- It’s a warning when big salaries are offered even though you have not even begun work as yet.
- Be careful of bogus email addresses that don’t seem to match the company’s name advertised – check with that company first that the job really is on offer.
- A big turn-off is when they only talk about money and never mention the job responsibilities or duties.
- Beware of any job that asks for a faxed CV with all sorts of personal supporting documents such as all education certificates, references, banking details. All these details should only be part of the final recruiting process at a later stage.
- Take care if you are expected to apply for a job via an SMS. Big no, no. You’ll be paying for that SMS and prospective employers are not allowed to expect you to do that.
- And of course, a key warning would be an advertisement written poorly with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.
The “work your own hours, make your own money” offer
This is the type of job offer that may be legitimate but will probably see you doing a lot of work for very little return. It’s another way of stealing from you – and in this way they are stealing your time for nothing. Be careful of enticing offers that may use the following terms:
- Potential high earnings
- Work your own hours
- Get in on the ground floor
- Looking for a go-getter with plenty of energy
- Your own transport required
- Great opportunity to start your own business
- You need to pay for your own product set, books or training material.
Your rights and reporting process
Remember that it is your right to apply for any position without being expected to pay anything. You do not pay for an SMS, extensive faxing, CV submission, CV selection, or interviews. Nor plane flights, hotel accommodation or any travel requirements whatsoever. At no stage, no matter what is offered, you are not expected to pay for anything.
Apart from remaining vigilant, if you should find yourself caught by one of these unscrupulous scams, you can take the following steps:
- Immediately report the matter to the advertising platforms concerned – either the online platforms, recruitment agency or the media carrying the ad
- Report any loss of money to the police and make a case
- Blow the whole scam out of the water by alerting scambuster.co.za
- Always protect yourself by asking questions and checking facts and company backgrounds via the internet and bona fide recruitment agencies who are equipped with the knowledge to advise you on any dubious offers.
Redefine your success through vigilance
Here at Ayanda Mbanga, we want to help you find opportunities that are authentic and trustworthy, that will give you a bright new start and not break your spirit with a lie. When we advertise a job, we know the employer well, and anything that may appear out of kilter is quickly investigated. We’re here to help you find the right match for your unique strengths and skills. You’ve put time and effort into who you are and what you’re looking for, so don’t let scamsters turn your head with wildly lucrative – but no doubt bogus – offers. Be practical and sensible. And be alert.