Prospective job seekers should never pay money to a prospective employer or recruitment agent as online scammers may be exploiting their desperation through fake job ads.
“There has been a sharp spike in the number of fake job adverts being posted on various social media and classifieds platforms,” says Claire Cobbledick, Head of Marketing for Gumtree South Africa. “We urge all prospective job seekers to be extremely careful when applying for a job online.”
Cobbledick says that while most of these ads are blocked before going live on the site, some scammers only reveal themselves after a lengthy application process, making them harder to track down. “By far the biggest indicator that a vacancy is not legitimate is if the poster attempts to solicit money from the applicant,” says Cobbledick. “No employer is going to offer a position and expect the employee to hand over money in any shape or form.”
While some companies do perform credit checks (with permission), there is no need to hand over any financial information until you’ve been successfully placed, and that information is solely used for deposit salaries and wages. “If a company asks you to pay for training materials, or to secure an interview, steer clear.”
Another common scam requires applicants to SMS a word or phrase (e.g. JOB) to a specific number in order to obtain more information about an advertised position. “Money will be deducted from your cellphone airtime or account – a legitimate business will provide a phone number and email address, not a SMS.”
Similarly, it is not necessary to pay a recruiter an interview fee. “Recruiters will receive commission (from the employer) on candidates that have been successfully placed. They are not likely to charge you to set up an interview – be very wary if you are required to pay cash to any recruitment company.”
Cobbledick also urges job seekers to be wary of ads that seem too good to be true. “If someone is willing to offer a job to an unskilled worker, or says that there are no qualifying criteria for applicants, for an extremely high salary and numerous benefits, it’s best to steer clear.”
A scam doing the rounds on social media and classifieds in 2017 has been an opportunity to work overseas for a large salary. Once individuals apply, they are told that they’ve been successful but need to pay for their flights and accommodation. The funds need to be paid into the company’s account, and they are assured they will be refunded later – which of course, they aren’t.
“Relocating to another country and obtaining the necessary work permit is a lengthy and complex process,” says Cobbledick. “If someone offers you a position in another country and claims you can start work within the next two weeks – pending payment of a large sum of money – steer clear. It is likely a scam.”
Cobbledick advises anyone who is concerned about a job advert to report the advertiser to Gumtree immediately on help.gumtree.co.za.