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South Africans Duped By Fake Job Ads – 6 Golden Rules To Avoid Falling Victim

Between March and October 2020, reports of fake job listings soared by 70%, according to SAFERjobs, an UK-based organisation that tracks employment fraud.  Criminals often use fake ads to con unsuspecting and desperate job hunters in South Africa too by charging ‘administration fees’, ‘upfront payments to secure employment’ or asking for payment for ‘police clearance’ checks. Dialdirect is urging South Africans to be vigilant.

“A convincing criminal, combined with a lack of healthy scepticism on the part of the victim, makes this kind of crime a frequent occurrence,” says Bianca De Beer, spokesperson for Dialdirect.

For example, Africa Check recently blew the lid off a Facebook page called “Government Jobs Application Page” which has over 700,000 followers and which shares adverts for fictitious, high paying governmental jobs.  Another recent example occurred when 130 people were deceived after applying for fake jobs at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.

Dialdirect and CareerJunction offer the following advice to guard yourself against fake job adverts:

·         The legalities: SA law, specifically the Skills Development Act, prohibits anyone from charging you to be placed in a job. According to the law, only the amount of R1 is legally payable to an employment agency by job seekers to register and possibly be represented as a candidate.

·         Pay to register, for interviews or CV writing: The Federation of African Professional Staffing Organisations states that “members shall not, directly or indirectly, charge any registration fees to applicants”. The same applies to online recruitment sites and job boards, interviews and CV writing, where a company is also not allowed to charge you for CV writing services if it’s dependent on you registering with them.

·         Don’t share banking details: Recruitment companies are not allowed to ask for your financial details in order to do a “credit/reference” check on you. This is illegal.

·         Jobs Offers Outside South Africa: The dangers of being lured into a human trafficking or contraband trap are very real. Double check that the company offering you a job is established, registered with relevant authorities and certified by governing bodies, both nationally and internationally.

·         E-mail address check:  If the company advertising a job vacancy uses a personal e-mail address instead of their domain address, be wary and do your research.  The domain or company name should appear after the @ symbol.

·         Too good to be true:  High salary but minimal requirements and qualifications needed?  It’s probably too good to be true. 

“The most important rule is to do your research,” De Beer concludes, “Criminals rely on you trusting them too easily, making rash decisions and guaranteeing them a great payday. Rather be sceptical, take your time, apply the rules above and play our part in avoiding nasty surprises during your job hunting spree.”