Scammers defraud job seekers amid rising unemployment
Job seekers who fall prey to employment scams appear to be on the rise as the providers of fictitious and non-existent placements dupe their clients by giving them mouth watering offers at a fee.
It was gathered that the rising employment situation has compelled many job seekers to seek refuge in agents who in turn charge exorbitant rates or reach an understanding to share a certain percentage of their salaries as the case may be when the jobs click.
A few genuine cases examined by The Guardian involved a sharing ratio agreement but a greater number of the job offers in town were fake having been creatively designed by the scammers to defraud unsuspecting job seekers.
Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that unemployment rate stood at a staggering 12.1 per cent as at March 2016. This is up from 10.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2015. For graduates and non-graduates, jobs are becoming more elusive.
The current state of the economy has worsened the situation as more job scammers have sprung up online and in offices parading themselves as employers or recruitment agents.
The fake agents charge the desperate job seekers between N10,000 and N300,000 based on the agreement and nature of the so-called job. President of the Human Capital Providers Association of Nigeria (HuCaPan), Neye Enemigin said: “Some group of persons extort money from job seekers, promising to secure employment for them. This is very rampant during recruitment by government agencies. The extortionists are either insiders (employees of the recruiting organisation) or outsiders who claim to be connected to the top echelon of such organisations.”
In some states, people pay up to N100,000 to secure a teaching job in public primary schools. In government agencies, a job seeker may be asked to part with as much as N30,000. In cases where they are successful, the job seekers do not complain because they believe that the job was worth the price.
Enemigin said the menace of scammers in the labour market has become one of the major challenges to the Human Resources (HR) profession in the country. He noted that most unemployed youths fall victim to the fraudsters due to lack of job opportunities in the country.
He narrated his experience about a young man who came to his office as head of HR in a well-known company to resume work with a forged employment letter of the company name given to him by one of the scammers.
He therefore, advised job seekers to carefully go through job sites such as Naijahotjobs.com, Ngcareers.com, joblistnigeria.com. hotnigerianjobs.com, latestnigerianjobs.com, jetheights.com, gblcareers.com, naijajobslink.com, jobberman.com, http://naijaguardianjobs.blogspot.com/, jobsmaster.com.ng, jobrapido.com.ng and nigeriabestjobs.com, among other genuine sites, rather than collect flyers on the road.
“HUCAPAN is making moves to end quackery among recruiters through collaboration with Federal Ministry of Labour to organize monitoring teams to eradicate job scammers behavior from the country.
Meanwhile, unemployment and poverty have been identified as the main reasons for the increase in the crime. A report by NOIPolls suggested that creation of more employment opportunities, especially for the youths would help in the fight against crime in general in the country.
Experts say this trend has triggered aggressiveness in the youths who currently deploy short-term means of making ends meet, while many others resort to advanced fee fraud, touting, gambling and other anti-social vices.
Indeed, while many work for security officials at garages extort money from motorists and transporters, a large number of the unemployed youths have taken to corporate begging in the streets.
Checks revealed that the fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated in the way they operate and it is becoming more difficult to differentiate between them and genuine recruiters.
Narrating his experience, a graduate of many years who fell victim in Lagos, Adeola Adelaja said job scams are very true because I fall into the trap of fraudsters through a flyer that was distributed on the roadside.
He said: The flyers stated that banks were recruiting and in an effort to put food on my table, I called a man whose name was Steve as written on the flyer as HR person. I was asked to send my CV to his email, few weeks after than I got a message that my name was shortlisted for an interview.
“I called the HR to explain the interview process to which he responded that I had to pay N30,000 for consultancy and another N50,000 for an insider to help me get the job which I paid by borrowing from friends and family.” Adelaja said the experience was a bitter one because after making the payment their numbers could no longer be reached and he had to start rallying round to refund the borrowed money.
Also, a few months ago in Oyo state, it was gathered that kidnappers had begun to send text messages inviting their victims for job interviews but they hold them hostage as soon as they turn up at the addresses given to them by the abductors and then demand huge sums of money as ransoms from the victim’s family.
The Lagos State Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Idowu Adelakun urged youths to be wary of such scams as there are some signs to watch out for. “Never part with your money. The golden rule is, any job offer that requires that you pay a fee in advance is probably fake. Most reputable companies will absorb the costs themselves. Another sign is if the recruiter offers to train you for the job in return for money, NEVER pay them any money. No legitimate company or recruiter will ask for any payments upfront,’’ he said.