As we spend more and more time online, it’s getting easier for fraudsters to find ways of making quick cash from unsuspecting job seekers. Has an exiled Nigerian prince recently emailed you for help and promised you part of their Million Dollar inheritance in return? Getting a job is tough enough and scammers are not making it any easier. Don’t become a victim and remember these warning signs the next time someone is offering you a job in return for a bit (or a lot) of cash.
It’s the Law.
Firstly, the law in South Africa 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. If anyone tells you differently, point them in the direction of our Skills Development Act and start running in the opposite direction.
Pay to Register.
A good example of this includes shady companies that charge for registering with them. According to the APSO (Federation of African Professional Staffing Organisations) Code of Ethics, which binds all members and their employees, “members shall not, directly or indirectly, charge any registration fees to applicants”. A recruitment company is also not allowed to charge you for CV writing services if it’s dependent on you registering with them. Again, if a company wants any kind of money from you upfront in return for a job, it’s unlawful and probably a scam.
The same rules apply to online recruitment sites and job boards. You should never be charged for joining or registering with an online job portal or recruitment agency in exchange for a guaranteed job. When it comes to job-hunting online, it should always be free to register, search and apply for jobs.
Pay to attend an interview.
No company can promise you a job if you attend an interview with them, especially if it comes at a price and it’s “guaranteed”. The law is on your side but save yourself the effort and heart-ache and have a look at the company’s credentials before going for a meeting with them. Err on the side of caution and first check if the company is registered with APSO.
Share your banking details.
Companies are not allowed to ask for your financial details in order to do a “credit/reference” check on you; this is completely illegal. Never provide your banking or login details to anyone – not even to your own bank. The same goes for responding to SMS messages that request your pin, permission for a debit order or debit/credit card details. Again, no company is allowed to ask you for money to help you get a job.
Jobs in other countries.
Out of all the above warnings, this is the most serious. If you are not using an established company to help you find a job in another country, be extra cautious. In recent years it has become common practise for people to be lured into smuggling contraband in and out of countries.
But it gets worse, especially for young adults who are promised work abroad, like modelling contracts and photo shoots. Human trafficking is a huge problem with very real life-or-death consequences so, make sure that the company offering you a guaranteed job is established, registered with relevant authorities and certified by governing bodies, nationally and internationally. Double check their credentials.
Trust your own instincts and remember that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you come across any job scams or illegal employment activities, report it immediately. Here are some important contacts:
APSO – Federation of African Professional Staffing Organisations.
SAPS – Safety Awareness.
Report a Crime – Fraud.
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