I browse many different online job sites daily. And there is not a single day that goes by that I do not spot one or more blatantly obvious job scams being posted on these job boards. Most of these scams are so obvious, that if you have read my article on Job Scam warning signs you would immediately just pass these adverts and continue your search. However, every once in awhile, I come across a post that I suspect is a scam, but I am not 100% sure. So what do I do? I apply for the job of course!
Now before you start to wonder if I have lost the plot, what I mean by “apply” is I send an application from a fake Gmail account under a completely different name. My application is usually so dreadful that the only person who would actually respond to me is a scammer. In this article, I want to expose 3 potential scams that I recently came across. I will give my reasons for suspecting them to be scams, however, you are free to make up your own mind.
3 possible job scams?
Right, so before we jump right in I want to make one thing very clear. I am human and obviously I can get things wrong. If you have any evidence to contradict my suspicions on the possible scams below, PLEASE share it with me. Either via E-Mail or using the comments below.
I will humbly admit that I have made a mistake and publicly correct myself! But, I don’t think that is going to happen.
Possible Job Scam #1
Ok, so into scam number 1.
I came across a number of job posts being advertised by “Simunye Staffing Solutions.” A few of the vacancies seemed very similar, despite being advertised in different parts of the country. I found this suspicious, so I decided to apply for an “Admin Assistant” vacancy in Pinetown, KZN.
Not long after sending my application through I received the following E-Mail:
Herewith please find more information regarding the admin opportunity you have expressed interest in:
As an Administrator, the following criteria applies and needs to be met in order to apply for this opportunity:
§ A computer or access to one (whether it is your own computer or at work during quiet times or even the Internet café – as long as you have one)
§ Internet Access – you will also be working online
§ A valid E-mail account
§ A South African bank account (in order for you to receive payment)
§ Microsoft Office Software (Excel, Word, etc.)
§ In addition to the above requirements, you must be able to follow instructions closely and completely
All contact will be via email – you will not be required to call anyone at any time. The point behind the virtual industry is to cut down on office overheads after all. This allows you to work whichever hours are most convenient to you (days, nights, or weekends).
You will need a word processing program in order to perform some tasks successfully (Microsoft Word or Open Office etc.) Once you have received the training materials, you can start working from home today, or wherever you choose to conduct business. Whether you are employed or unemployed you can still apply for this. You can do it part time in the evenings or over weekends or full time. Whatever is convenient to your schedule. To the unemployed this can be something you might consider doing while you are looking for something permanent should you then decide to take a permanent position. I spend around 6 hours a day 5 days a week and make enough to provide well for my family. I am a parent as well and I am at home with them, comfortable and earning an income at the same time. Please note that this is not employment or a job and we are not a recruitment agency. This is part time admin work and what you pay for is purely the materials that will explain to you in detail how the system works and how to set yourself up.
The Work – You will be processing email applications, typing, as well as filling out forms in specific company databases (this tends to be tedious at times so please be sure that you have the patience to do so before proceeding). This is why you will need to have basic Internet knowledge, though the training provided will give you step-by-step instructions on how to perform these tasks properly. You will not be required to recruit people or send out chain emails. This is actual admin work. There are no down times with this opportunity however you are able to take on as much or as little work as you wish. The amount of income you make each week is entirely up to you and how much time and effort you are willing to put in with this opportunity. The average person makes R 2500 – R 3500 per week for approx. 4-5 hours spent online per day. I cannot stress this enough – No one can stand behind you and force you to work so we cannot estimate or guarantee what you will earn.
As stated above if you are not employed this could be a stepping stone to do part time while you search for something permanent or you can put in a little more effort and do it full time which is what I did. So there is no hidden agenda, no scam, no recruiting more people – purely admin work from home.
The Income – You will receive your pay through EFTs or direct deposit. When an application/task is completed successfully R180.00 will be paid to you. An application/task is not complete until you have received payment in other words. Please do not wait for a pay check at the end of the month – this is not going to happen. You will be paid per task/application when and if it is completed. The money trickles into your account all throughout the month.
Training & Materials – We require a fee of R345.00 for the training. For two reasons (1) it safeguards us from those applicants who really just want to waste our time by allowing us to set them up, train them and then they conveniently do not do any work. (2) It covers our admin costs and registration fees. The fee is non-refundable. This line of work is not for everyone so please think carefully before you proceed with your application as we would hate for you to feel out of pocket or done in. You have to be willing to put in the hours to earn the money. By proceeding with the registration you agree to the terms stated in this email and meet the criteria in order to register.
Upon completion of your registration and receipt of payment your profile is forwarded to the training department where they begin the setup process with you.
Keep in mind the sooner you go through the training materials the sooner you will start earning. It takes the average applicant a day or so to work through the training manual after which they can start working immediately. I can be contacted via E-mail at any time after you have received your training materials to help you or answer any questions you may have.
Should you consider yourself an appropriate candidate, meet all the requirements and are responsible enough to work independently then please contact me via E-mail on sycraia.admin@*********.co.za or sycraia-admin@********.co.za and I will send you the relevant registration form so you can get started.
I wrote back to the sender that I was confused as I had applied for an Admin Assistant position, yet was receiving a freelance administrator offer which I needed to purchase! The writer responded that I had obviously made a mistake and they would discard my details.
I must be honest, even I started to wonder if I had made a mistake. So decided to apply for an “Office Admin” vacancy also with Simunye Staffing through a different E-Mail address. Sure enough, I received the exact same reply.
It seems that this person simply places fake job adverts in the hopes that desperate job seekers will pay for the freelance administration work training. I obviously did not pay the requested amount so I can not comment on whether or not the training is legit or not. Either way, posting fake job adverts is quite dodgy if you ask me!
Possible Job Scam #2
This is a common scam that most job seekers will have come across. You apply for a vacancy and are asked to make a payment for a police clearance certificate or a credit check.
I found a few vacancies being advertised by FSK Engineering. I became suspicious about the legitimacy of their vacancies. So what do you think I did? I applied of course!
I did not receive an immediate reply, however, after a couple of days I did get the following reply:
Thank you for sending us your CV and applying for our Vacancy
Please kindly complete our application form fully and accurately as possible, attach all necessary documentation
Please note that there’s no fee you have to pay if you have CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE from SAPS (Clearance Certificate)
Is the certificate that states whether you have a criminal record or not.
Make sure all attached forms are sent back to the FSK Group
Email address: fsk.applicationform@******.com
Please note the latest we can give you until we start with the interviews is the
4th JUNE 2020 latest 18:00pm
Any applications after this date and time will be automatically rejected.
FSK Group team
This was a weird reply because I had not even sent a CV with my application. It became even stranger when I opened the attached “application form.” I was immediately informed at the top of the form that only shortlisted candidates had received this form. Lucky me! Although I had to wonder how strict their recruitment process was to shortlist a candidate who had not even bothered to submit a CV.
I had seen from the Email that they wanted payment for a clearance certificate. I checked the bottom of the application form and the amount being requested was mentioned. They wanted R450.00 for the necessary checks to be done, and they needed R850 for accommodation at the company during the training week! Possibly this R850 is to catch anyone who actually does have a valid clearance certificate already.
Please never ever make a payment for criminal checks or credit checks. There is not a reputable company in the country who will ask for this upfront. There are companies that do require these clearances, however, what they will usually do is conduct interviews and then select a candidate. Once they have selected a candidate they will pay for the candidate to have all the necessary checks done.
Possible Job Scam #3
This is a very frustrating one because I am not sure which advert I applied to. I suspect that these guys only reply to applications a month or more after receiving the application, but I can’t be sure. There are a number of possibilities for why they might only reply so much later:
- It makes it very difficult to remember which jobs you have applied to.
- They are catching job seekers who might be getting desperate because their job search is taking time. These are the people who might be feeling just desperate enough to try anything.
This seems to be the FAX scam I discuss in my first article on Job Scams. What has happened is that at some stage I must have applied for a position that I suspected was a scam. I did not receive a reply, and because my applications are so dreadful not receiving a reply is generally a good thing. However, they have now decided to reply to me. But it is not one mail, or two or three. No, I have received 21 emails, from 12 different “companies” in the last 4 days.
The E-Mails are all very similar so it is quite obvious they are related. Below is an example of an E-Mail I received:
Good day to you,
This email serves as a response to a recent email we have received from you relating to a vacant position that was advertised online.
We appreciate your interest in this vacancy.
For you to progress in the application process please take special notice of the information in this letter.
To advance to the next stage in the application process we need you to act swiftly and forward the following documentation to our application department:
Your full detailed CV, your photo, a cover / introduction letter, and any other documentation that will support your application.
Please mark this for attention: Vanessa, our compliance officer.
You can send everything, for her attention, to Fax: 086525****
On receipt of this information we will again make contact with you to explain the rest of the stages in the application process.
Please ensure that we receive your information within the next 24 hours.
There are no phone numbers and all the email addresses are “no-reply@.” In other words, there is no way to contact any of these people, other than by sending the required documents via fax. I’m sorry but there is no recruiting company in the world that operates like this. But hey, as I said earlier, if I am mistaken please do not hesitate to let me know.
I want to make sure you are all well informed about the “companies” sending these emails so I have listed the ones that sent emails to me below.
- Exquisite Vacancies
- Hire Dynamics
I suspect that we will be seeing an increase in job scams being posted. Especially as more and more people lose their jobs thanks to the governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Job seekers are going to become more and more desperate and this is when the scammers will pounce.
As a general rule, never ever pay for anything upfront. No training material, no recruiting fees, no clearance certificates! Rather err on the side of caution, and if you even suspect for a moment that you are dealing with a scammer please feel free to pop me a mail or leave me a comment below, and we can have a look at it together.
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