No doubt, Nigeria has a high unemployment rate and few employment opportunities exist for the innumerable qualified citizens who seek them daily.
The unemployment rate in Nigeria stood at a staggering 12.1% as of March 2016, this is up from 10.5% in the fourth quarter of 2015. For graduates and non-graduates, jobs in Nigeria have become elusive.
More than ever, job scammers have taken advantage of the unemployment crisis in Nigeria, parading themselves online and even in offices as genuine employers or recruitment agencies. And many gullible and desperate Nigerians are falling victim.
In this piece, we’ll take a look at some of the modus operandi of job scammers in Nigeria and how would-be victims can learn from the sad experiences of others.
What is a job scam?
It occurs when a fraudster poses as an employer or recruiter, and offers attractive employment opportunities which require that the job seeker to pay money in advance. This is usually under the guise of medicals, training, travel expenses, background checks, certificate acquisition, or even work visas that are required for the job. Once the job seeker pays the money, the perpetrator disappears, and the job seeker is left with no job.
Whatever their technique is and how they go about it, their goal is always the same; To separate you from your cash.
These fraudsters are becoming more and more crafty in the way they operate, and it’s becoming more difficult to differentiate between a scam and a legitimate job vacancy.
There’s a group of persons who extort money from job seekers, promising to secure employment for them. This is very rampant when government agencies are recruiting. These extortionists are either insiders (employees of the recruiting organization) or outsiders who have or claim connection to the top echelon of the organization. Occasionally, they deliver on their promises, but most times they fail and also hardly refund the money so collected, leaving the applicants disappointed and frustrated. In some states, people pay up to N100,000 to secure a teaching job in public primary schools! For jobs in Nigeria federal bodies, a job seeker may be required to part with N300,000. In successful cases, the victims do not complain for, in their reckoning, the job is worth the price.
Another group will send their victim an email with exceptional offers and packages, and of course with requirements like NEBOSH and other certifications which they are sure the job seeker doesn’t possess. Their target victim will now be required to pay for such certifications before they receive an employment letter.
A few months back in Rivers state, Nigeria, 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.
Their modus operandi are numerous.
So how do you recognize a job scam, and what signs should you look 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 not real. Most reputable companies will absorb these costs themselves. Another warning sign, is if the recruiter offers to train you for the job, in return for money. NEVER pay money. No legitimate company or recruiter will ask for money upfront. Not for anything.
- Sometimes, a recruiter or company that corresponds from a free email account such as Yahoo, Live, Hotmail or Gmail is likely not authentic. Legitimate job related emails will come from corporate email accounts. Though there are exceptions.
- Do a Google search on the company. Do a search on the company name and see what information you can find. Compare it to the information that you have been sent. Take a look at their website, if they have any. When you Google them, and you find nothing, only job postings, or warnings, they’re most probably not real.
- Always remember that reputable companies are not going to offer you a role without interviewing your first. Flattering as it may seem that they were so impressed with your resume, that they have offered you a position without meeting you first, the reality is, that you are probably being duped if this happens. Never, ever accept a job offer that has come through via email, when you have never had a telephonic or face-to-face interview.
- Receiving offers for jobs you did not apply for. If you receive an offer in your inbox for a job that you never applied for, and it sounds too good to be true, then it is too good to be true.
- Salaries that are way over what you would normally earn. Getting paid a really high salary is not the norm for all job seekers. Any legitimate employer will evaluate your skill set and experience, before deciding on what you are worth. If the company offers you a salary that is completely out of your range, and experience, you are probably in the process of being scammed.
- Be cautious of emails with grammatical and spelling mistakes.
- They often use fake URLs to mask themselves as large well known organizations. Double check the URL, or the web address of the company. You may think that you are on a well-known company’s website, when you are actually on a malicious website. So always check the website URL first.
- Vague sketchy job descriptions. If you read the job description and at the end of it, you are not really sure what the job actually entails, or when you analyze it and the role states that there is no specific skill necessary for the job and anyone/everyone would qualify, you are probably about to be scammed. The majority of jobs will require at least some experience or qualification.
- Most of them will need you to startimmediately— today, preferably! You must begin working as soon as possible. Their requests are very urgent! You don’t have time to wait — respond NOW! They don’t want you to take the time to think about what they are asking or to do any research before you respond.
- You need to “invest” in training or tools to get started.
They want you to pay them for training, certificates or tools to start work. Or you need information they are happy to sell you so you can qualify for the job or start working.
If you really have no idea why someone would pick you to pay you handsomely to do a very simple job, get your guard up! Job scams can be very devastating for already cash strapped job seekers. Don’t learn the hard way. Before falling prey to unscrupulous scammers, do your homework and checks very carefully. If the opportunity seems “too good to be true,” it is probably a scam!