How to Spot Fake Job Advertisements

Spotting fake job ads takes a bit of a background, especially if you find it puzzling as to why anyone would post fake ads in the first place. Even with some background knowledge, it may still be difficult to know if a job ad is fake or real.

Unscrupulous people use the internet to develop thousands of scams, preying on your lack of knowledge. Scams can be intended to deprive you of your personal details, money or worse. Read through the following tips to inform yourself about how to better spot the fake job ad.

If it behaves like a duck, it is a duck

Beware those job ads that sell you the overseas traveling job as a companion. Big company names that come with suspect contact details.

Fraudsters frequently use well-known company names like Vodacom or DHL to attract attention. Look carefully at the email address provided. This can be a dead giveaway when the @ sign is followed by Google, Yahoo or Hotmail.

Be careful of responding to strange phone numbers too, as these may also just be a different type of scam to send virus attachments to your phone to track your personal contacts or online banking details.

Check the company website for their official contact number, call and ask them if the caller number is one of theirs or not. Scam artists will use every trick and skill available to trick the innocent and gullible into responding to these ads, which can end up making your life a misery.

Who contacted who first?

Phone calls and emails from popular companies in South Africa tend to let your guard down. Places like SARS or MTN are familiar, so you immediately think the communication is valid. The only problem is that you don’t recall having sent a job application to the company.

Sure, they might have ‘head hunted’ you via a LinkedIn profile, which is very flattering but be careful. Scam artists are highly skilled and accustomed to making con tricks sound believable. If you didn’t send your C.V. to the company mentioned, end the call and block their number.

Poor spelling, grammar and job description

Spelling is poor and the grammar is worse in the intriguing job ad that just caught your attention. Even more concerning is that the job description is vague.

A professional South African business is going to employ expert HR staff members to maintain their online reputation. They won’t pass job ads that look as if they’ve been written by an amateur as this isn’t good for their public image.

Should you see a job description online, in the smalls section of on or offline newspapers like the Job Mail, report suspicious content and move to looking for jobs on reputable sites.

News24 is reputable and agencies such as Rockstar Recruitment are viable places to look for work. LinkedIn is another reputable site where jobseekers can be reasonably confident that work positions offered are what they say they are.

Does the remuneration match the job advertised?

When the salary is R40,000 to R50,000 for a secretarial position, and the boss is not a CEO, the job is a scam. Some secretaries can command this salary but they will need a degree and years of experience. This pay also only comes with working for the top boss in a private company in S.A.

Search average salaries in the job category which interest you. An average will give you a good idea of what salary to expect. Anything too far above or under this average should be avoided. Too far under and you won’t be paid what you’re worth.

Too far above, and your experience may not qualify you to succeed in the position even if appointed. This is not to say you shouldn’t accept challenges, but develop a healthy awareness of your capabilities and how big the gap is between this and job expectations. Be reasonable to avoid disappointment, but be logical to avoid being scammed as well.

Interviews take place at the company offices

Always get the address for an interview. Unless it is at the company’s offices, it is a scam. Interviews for legitimate jobs do not take place at hotels, coffee shops, or elsewhere.

Don’t get drawn into anyone attempting to persuade you otherwise. Also do not fall for the email or phone only interview. Unless you can see the person face to face or establish, without doubt, they are who they claim to be, cut all connections with them.

Once you have received the work address, do your own investigation online. If you don’t find information online that matches what you have been given over the phone or via an email, avoid this ‘job interview’ at all costs.

You may place yourself in danger if you follow up on supposed job ads that are not transparent about the business location, where the interview is to be held or anything else.

Don’t share private information, buy something or give money away

All these issues raise major red flags. No credible company is going to ask you to share private details until you have signed a binding job contract.

No reputable business will request that you purchase a product in exchange for an interview or anything else. Additionally, no proper business will expect you to pay them to obtain an interview or a job.

You should not part with private bank account details, neither should you need to pay for criminal or credit reports. Only you can sign a document to approve a company conducting a criminal or credit check on you for job purposes.

Only if these checks are required for the job, can they be conducted? No company can get your consent for either of these purposes unless you have been highlighted as a final candidate for a job.

Job searches are both exciting and daunting. Exciting because you want to make career progress. Daunting because you have to avoid pitfalls like people trying to scam you when you’re just trying to find honest employment. Educate yourself about how job scams occur so you can avoid this pitfall. Good luck with finding the right job for you.


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