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Don't get scammed: How to tell if a job offer is not legitimate

01 November 2019 - 14:47 By Orrin Singh
In most instances, those who fall for a jobs scam are requested to pay thousands of rand before they can secure their 'job'.
In most instances, those who fall for a jobs scam are requested to pay thousands of rand before they can secure their 'job'.
Image: varandah/123rf.com

With job scams on the rise, Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has provided South Africans with a few helpful pointers on how to distinguish between what's legit and what's fake. 

On Friday Transnet said it had embarked on the nationwide PhansiNgo Tsotsi/Away With Criminals campaign in an attempt to educate people who could potentially fall prey to job scams. 

This comes just three days after Stats SA's Quarterly Labour Force Survey revealed that SA's unemployment rate was at its highest in 11 years. 

Stats SA revealed that SA’s unemployment rate was 29.1% in the third quarter of 2019.

With millions of South Africans desperate for jobs and the festive season on the way, Pamela Yoyo, TPT Talent and Recruitment Head, cautioned the public to be aware of the following: 

• Always look at the e-mail address

In most cases, scammers do not use legitimate e-mail domains for the company they're “recruiting” for. If someone asks you to send your CV to a gmail or yahoo e-mail address, always be wary. For example, Yoyo says all Transnet Port Terminals' e-mail addresses end with a dot net (xxx@transnet.net).

• Recruiters do not share cellphone numbers 

Yoyo says in almost every case, a recruiter from a legitimate company would not publish their cellphone number. 

• Money is a no-go 

The biggest red flag in terms of job scammers is when money is requested from the candidate. If you are requested to pay to secure an interview, take a medical or to pay for a uniform, you know you are being scammed. 

• Social media, the catfish king 

Social media platforms, with the messages then shared by word of mouth, are the main means of perpetuating this crime, with adverts showing a company logo advertising mainly contractor or general worker jobs. Through the cellphone numbers provided, members of the public are lured to contact the criminals where they are then requested to pay money via mobile transfer facilities and instant cash methods so they cannot be traced. Due to the general nature of companies sharing their information on websites for customer convenience, criminals take advantage of this and set up meetings at legitimate addresses only to cancel or postpone just before the scheduled time.

• If you don't open a case, it's a hopeless case

In most instances, people who are scammed have no idea how to report the matter. Opening a case at your nearest police station should be the first point of action. Providing details like cellphone numbers, names of the perpetrator, receipts and proofs of payment, printouts of WhatsApp or SMS conversations, as well as dates and venues of arranged meetings - will go a long way towards securing an arrest.

• Yoyo warns that criminals are smart

“The more information you share, the more they customise their requirements to make you pay. If you say you have no matric, they will say it is all right – there is a way around it. If you say you do not have R5,000 cash, they will say it is all right, just pay R1,000 for now and we will discuss the rest later. Criminal record, no problem, you just pay a little more.”

She said in some cases victims have paid up to R25,000 in the hopes of getting a permanent job from criminals who can be as far as 700km away.

The company’s anonymous tip-offs line averages about 30 calls a month from victims desperate to get their money back from criminals who vanished. But at this stage it is often too late and the information required by investigators in order to help is often not available or is outdated.

“Although taking place all over SA, this crime is most extensive in Richards Bay, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town and often committed by people that have no direct relations with the company.”

She said a task team of forensic investigators and police would be conducting awareness campaigns at train stations and taxi ranks.