JOB SCAMS! How to avoid becoming a victim.

Job Scams. How to avoid them
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Unfortunately, we live in a country that is plagued by exceptionally high levels of unemployment. Although you might think that this is bad enough there are many dishonest individuals who have seen this as an opportunity to scam desperate job seekers. I can imagine how easy it must be to fall into one of these job scams, especially when you are desperate for a job, any job. Desperation clouds our judgment and allows us to make decisions and take actions that we would normally not. My hope is that by highlighting some of these job scams and giving you an idea of what to look out for you might recognize a scam before it is too late.

Lets first discuss some of the common job scams that are going around and then we will discuss what to look out for and how to recognize them.

Common Job Scams.

1) Pay for items or training material scams.

This is one of the most common scams that I have seen taking place in recent months. What happens is applicants are promised free training for a position, however first they need to purchase the training material for the training course. A variation of this scam also involves applicants being told they need to purchase certain equipment that is necessary for the position.

2) Jobs overseas scams.

This is another big one at the moment, especially on social media sites such as Facebook. I have seen quite a few popping up on a Facebook Group that I created for hospitality professionals to find and advertise positions called Hospitality Connect.

These scams are also going to ask you for payment for some service upfront. However it can be much more serious than just scamming you out of a few Thousand Rand, there have been cases of individuals being used as drug mules unknowingly when traveling to these countries for the interview, and even cases of people being abducted. These scams can literally turn into life or death situations! My advice is that if you are interested in working overseas rather make contact with a reputable recruitment agency in that country and request assistance.

3) Registration scam.

In this scam, you are told that your application is successful and you will be starting work on a specific date. However you need to register with the company first, and obviously this involves paying a fee. A variation of this is a recruitment agency that will charge you a fee to “prepare your CV.” No reputable recruitment company is going to charge you for their service, their fees are paid by the company with the job vacancy.

Please note that this is separate from a professional CV writing service that some agencies might offer, check out this link if you are interested in having your CV professionally prepared. However, if they insist you MUST make use of their CV writing service it is a scam.

4) Fake application job scam.

As we move forward into a digital world it is people’s information that is becoming valuable, and we need to protect our information from those that want to gather it and sell it. In the fake job scam applicants are directed to a form that asks for all of their personal information, most of which will have no relevance to the position being applied for. After completing this form your information is collected and sold to the highest bidder.

Any company that would like to collect your information should have a privacy policy in place which tells you what they intend to do with your information. For example, I have a link to my companies privacy policy at the bottom of the form I ask candidates to complete. If you are suspicious about a company, rather read through the privacy policy or ask the company to provide it for you if you can’t find it.

5) The fax application scam.

This is a simple yet quite clever scam, I personally have never come across it but I have read about it taking place in South Africa quite a few times. Basically a “company” advertises a position and candidates are asked to fax through their CVs to apply. Only a fax number is provided in the job advert. After you send your CV through the fax charges are billed to your phone account at ridiculously high rates.

So those are the most common scams taking place at the moment, they seem obvious when you read them here but they are catching people like you and me every single day. And it is all because of that desperation factor.

Points to look out for when thinking about applying for a job.

1) The email address is @gmail.

This is the first and most tell-tale sign of a scam. If you are asked to respond to an @gmail email address please be extremely cautious. Remember that it is so easy for anyone to just create a Gmail account, in fact, you could create a new one every day if you needed to.

READ  3 Job Scams you may already have seen.

This point is especially valid if the position being advertised is for a large company. For example, just the other day I saw a position being advertised at Pick n Pay but they were asking applicants to send their CVs to, let’s be honest here, you can’t really believe that Pick n Pay is using Gmail now. I would also say any overseas positions that require you to apply to a Gmail account are fishy, actually, any overseas position that is not being advertised by a recruiter is fishy, full stop!

2) You are asked to make a payment.

If the company asks you to pay for registration, training, equipment, or for the interview please be very cautious. I can’t imagine why a company would ask anyone to make a payment to work for them. In my mind, if a company wants me to work for them it is because they have seen my potential to help the company make a profit through the work that I will do for them. Why would they charge me if I am going to be bringing money into the company anyway? This also applies to a recruitment company, you do not need to pay a recruitment agency for CV preparation or registration.

3) You are asked to give bank details and personal information upfront.

If you are asked to fill out forms asking you for large amounts of personal information and/or banking details think twice. You should only be required to give your banking details to the company after you have actually begun working for them. If you are asked to fill out any forms requesting personal information first verify the companies credibility and check their privacy policy.

4) You are offered to position without an interview or the interview is conducted over a messaging platform such as Whatsapp.

Of course, it is a wonderful feeling to be told “congratulations you have got the job,” especially if you have been job hunting for quite some time. Try to be realistic though, why would a company hire you without even conducting an interview? Or why would they just conduct their interview over a Whatsapp chat? Of course, there is no reason the company can not use Skype or even Whatsapp video chat, and at the bare minimum, a company may conduct a telephonic interview however this is usually just a preliminary interview to short-list candidates.

5) You are asked to travel to any location other than the company.

Please be safe, there is no job that is worth becoming a victim of some of the vicious crimes committed by scammers and criminals out there. Do not meet interviewers at their homes or at any location other than the companies physical address. If you re concerned that the address supplied is not valid rather pop it into google and see what comes up or go onto google maps street view and have a look at the building. Perhaps the company is a small home-based business. Rather suggest to the interviewer that you meet at a nearby coffee shop for the interview. Any company worth working for they will be accommodating, if not, don’t risk it.

6) The advert for the position is poorly written.

Job scams are often not very well written. I understand that we are not all English professors, and obviously it is acceptable for the writer of the advert to make a few errors. However, if the ad does not entirely make sense in certain areas or especially if it looks like the ad was just run through google translator be cautious.

7) The advert states no experience required.

This is a perfect example of a phrase that is designed to prey on the desperation of job seekers who have been struggling to find a position for quite some time or those that are short on experience. Generally speaking, most employers are going to ask for some experience, and if they are not looking for an experienced candidate they certainly will not advertise this fact.

Often these fake job posts will have the following wording in them, “No experience needed, full training provided.” Don’t waste your time, you are going to be asked to pay for your training material, this is almost guaranteed.

If you enjoyed this please also check out the article on 8 warning signs of a Job Scam, or Online Scams – “Viewing adverts for cash.” I really hope that this has opened your eyes a little and even if I just help one person out there avoid a job scam I will be happy. If you know about any other job scams taking place out there at the moment or you have been a victim of one of these scams please tell me about it in the comments below.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and as always GOOD LUCK with the job search.

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The information contained on this website is simply aimed at providing readers with guidance on labour law in South Africa. This information has not been provided to meet the individual requirements of a specific individual. Bizcraft will always suggest that legal advice be obtained to address a person’s unique circumstances. It is important to remember that the law is constantly changing and although Bizcraft strives to keep the information up to date and of high quality, it cannot be guaranteed that the information will be updated and/or be without errors or omissions. As a result, Bizcraft will under no circumstances accept liability or be held liable, for any innocent or negligent actions or omissions which may result in any harm or liability flowing from the use of or the inability to use the information provided.


  1. […] me on the limited personal information I recommend giving, however, because of the prevalence of Job Scams in South Africa I always err on the side of caution. Obviously, if there are other personal details that are […]

  2. Avatar
    July 24, 2020

    Hi I think I also being scammed I paid 320 for background check and screening process in order for agency to proceed with my application , but the agency referred me the email address of company who doing background check and screening but they also said I can do it on private and send agency results reason I did not get company to do background check free I rather asked the recommended company to do background check for me I paid 320 , I sent proof of payment as they request than they sent me email that my agency will contact me regarding position , I suspect this was scammer as I did not even conduct interview.

    1. Peter Breedveld
      Peter Breedveld
      July 27, 2020

      Hi Thandiwe, I am very sorry you had this experience. It certainly sounds like it was another scam. PLEASE REMEMBER, NEVER EVER PAY FOR ANYTHING WHEN SEARCHING FOR A JOB.

  3. Avatar
    May 20, 2020

    This just happened to me.. Today & lucky for me.. I had just read this scam post earlier.. So I was able to make this scam out

    [5/20, 15:04] Louis Vee: Good afternoon Mr Mohlala I am Vuyo Mdladla, texting to find out if you had received an email this morning from me.. About a job application for general worker offer
    [5/20, 15:06] Mr Mohlala: ohk
    how old are you?
    [5/20, 15:06] Louis Vee: 28
    [5/20, 15:07] Mr Mohlala: ohk
    snd me your cv photo’s over there please or now
    [5/20, 15:08] Louis Vee: Just the photo or both with the CV?
    [5/20, 15:09] Mr Mohlala: ur cv pictures
    [5/20, 15:11] Louis Vee: Sent
    [5/20, 15:14] Mr Mohlala: yes
    [5/20, 15:14] Louis Vee: You received it.?
    [5/20, 15:16] Mr Mohlala: you snd it via email?
    [5/20, 15:16] Louis Vee: Yes sir
    [5/20, 15:17] Mr Mohlala: oh I see it is vuyo right?
    [5/20, 15:17] Louis Vee: Yes
    [5/20, 15:18] Mr Mohlala: ohk
    This number ends with 6468 you use it full time?
    [5/20, 15:18] Louis Vee: Yes sir
    [5/20, 15:18] Mr Mohlala: ohk

    (Then the guy sent me what looks like an application form)

    [5/20, 15:19] Mr Mohlala: this is ur application form but am already finished it for ur application aswell
    [5/20, 15:20] Louis Vee: Meaning?
    [5/20, 15:21] Mr Mohlala: am already fill up the space for you because I’ve details aswell
    [5/20, 15:21] Mr Mohlala: they will snd u sms when ur application has been successfully
    [5/20, 15:21] Louis Vee: Ohk.. Well thank you
    [5/20, 15:22] Mr Mohlala: The main thing you have to do your registration fees for Medical 📃💵because Company firstly was do it for everyone who was apply in this Company problem is some of them they didn’t come to attend their indication while we use a private Doctorsq,so our Company lose the money 💵 so each n everyone who like to work with us the must do their own registration fees 💵📃for Application💵📃aswell

    No interview we looking people urgently is for permanent position

    Thanks for your moment 🤝
    [5/20, 15:26] Mr Mohlala: if you cant able to do tht just let me know?
    bcz ur documents are in hold at the moment and some people they need tht space I was given you to build their own future and take care of their family
    [5/20, 15:28] Louis Vee: How do I do this registration?
    [5/20, 15:31] Mr Mohlala: R1,260
    And I’ll snd u a medical form
    [5/20, 15:33] Louis Vee: Oh my.. 🙆🏾‍♂️
    I’m sorry but I do not have that kinder of money.. Having not working yet.
    By when is it exactly due?
    [5/20, 15:34] Mr Mohlala: so wht you will do or I can keep your space save untill month end?
    [5/20, 15:40] Louis Vee: Ok
    [5/20, 15:40] Louis Vee: I’ll see if I can get anything
    [5/20, 15:41] Mr Mohlala: ohk no problem then you will let me know
    [5/20, 15:43] Louis Vee: Yea ok
    [5/20, 15:44] Mr Mohlala: thanks for your moment 🤝

    This scam shit os real guys.. Beware please

    1. Peter Breedveld
      Peter Breedveld
      May 25, 2020

      Glad you realised before the scammer was able to get you to pay over any money.

      I would add that not only is the fact that this person asking for money an obvious warning sign, but also the language and spelling mistakes this person is making.

  4. Avatar
    April 28, 2020

    Due to desperation I fell into the same trap sold paying for ITC. Since I’ve been out of the job market for quiet some time, I thought it was the ‘new’ thing. 2 ‘recruiting agencies’ scammed me.
    1- Martin Sithole │Recruitment Lead – Global Staffing and Training Consultants (Pty) LTD│ cnr 21 Village Road and 2 Simmonds Street, Johannesburg 2001│
    │+27 87 055 0713 (DL)│ +27 81 081 3731 ( C ) │+27 86 452 5601 (F) │

    2. We are based In
    Johannesburg (CBD)
    Kruis & Hellen Joseph
    Ottawa Mall Building
    9th Floor
    Office 915

    1. Avatar
      Annelie Potgieter
      May 4, 2020

      I applied for a secretarial position at a security company in Pretoria. I was informed that I am on the short list and interview will take place on 1 June 2020.
      Attached was an application form which needed to be completed and e mailed back on Tuesday 5 May. I received this e mail on Friday, 2 May.
      They also want me to pay R450 for ITC. Aparently the R450 will be refunded to the successful candidate.
      Now, I did do my homework on this company they are legit and have offices near my home.
      I also found information on their Operations Manager on Linkdin.
      So all seemed in order
      This R450 absolutely send me into a rage as I reason that if 1000 people applied for this position and they are desperate and pay the fee and only 1 person is appointed, that means 999 x R450 IS A LOT OF MONEY they put in their pockets for doing absolutely nothing.
      The e mail sent to me informing me, I am on the short list had spelling mistakes!
      I sent a message back that I am unemployed and am not able to pay that fee, but will pay it gladly if I am successful in the application.
      I also informed them that due to the Covid19 situation, it is nearly impossible to get a job and it is unreasonable to expect unemployed people to Pay R450, where do they think an unemployed person will get that amount of money.
      4 minutes later I got a mail typed in capital letters that my application will not be processed if the money is not paid in by tomorrow, Tuesday, 5 May.
      I send a message “NOTED” thank you.
      I would rather stay umemployed and continue with my job search.

      1. Peter Breedveld
        Peter Breedveld
        May 25, 2020

        Very glad you picked up this was a scam before it was to late

  5. […] to search with. Choosing the right job board website will allow you to find better jobs and avoid job scams and fake adverts. But which is the best online job board for searching for a new […]

  6. Avatar
    February 6, 2020

    i was there before when they ask me money of ITC and criminal check including money of certificate amount of R750 and all my money gone

  7. Avatar
    February 2, 2020

    Thank you to enlight us with such things that likely to put out life in danger.

    I recently almost scammed by people who claim to be HR employees of Clover company, They posted job ad to SAJOBS recruitment agency. I got an email from person who told me he’s Jeffrey Ngubane and they received my application and I must wait for a call soon

    On the Friday 31 JANUARY 2020 I got a call from Andile Dladla and he asked me name and surname to confirm my details and I told him it’s me and further told about interviews that were runned in few days back he said 4 people passed interview and 5ft one fail it due to medical test

    He referred me to other guy who’s Jeffrey Ngubane to talk to him, immediately I phone this guy and he conducted silly interview with and lastly he said that since him and Mr Dlala they’ll do me favour to forge the employment of contract, so I must pay them R8000 or if i don’t have this amount I can atleast pay R4000.

    After to drop the phone I felt dizzy for a moment I tried to call Clover Head Office to confirm about these posts and they said if you pay something in return to get a job it’s scam. To extra proof I also tried to get contact details of Clover previous worker’s to confirm and it’s final registered that it’s scam

    Guy’s we’re really living in the most dangerous world let us please be carefully. This is my experience from scammers

  8. Avatar
    December 30, 2019

    Thanks for the heads up on the scam, we’ve been asked so many times to pay for ITC check up because we’re desperate to get jobs and recruitment agencies that will Tell you that they will place you in the company that seems e.g drivers and you don’t even get interviewed by that company. Thank you!

    1. Peter Breedveld
      Peter Breedveld
      January 2, 2020

      Hi Koketso,

      Thank you for the wonderful comment. I am always glad to hear that I have been able to help someone. Best of luck with the job search, your perfect position is out there!

  9. […] of most popular articles to date is titled: Job Scams, How to avoid becoming a victim. I stated in that article that my aim was help at least just one person avoid becoming a victim of […]


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