Fraudsters in Recruitment
Its been quite a while since I blogged, but just thought that I would have to burn midnight oil for this one since I believe that the information ought to go out there even after one of my friends was in such a situation.
She has been desperately looking to change jobs for various reasons; including a greater challenge, greener pastures (more pay), a job that would ease work life balance and wanting to get out of the industry she is in.
Some weeks back, she got a lead from the cousin who is a senior Finance person in a parastatal.
The forwarded message was that there was some organization that was seeking to recruit a finance person, preferably a lady and that she fits the profile for the job.
The cousin shared with her the number of the person she was to contact for the vacancy. His name was Alex. She asked for more details from him, but he said that he didnt have more about the vacancy and that he had gotten the lead from the guy he was referring her to.
The next day, she called Alex and informed him that she had been referred by the cousin concerning a vacancy at their organization. He responded that indeed there was a vacancy, but unfortunately someone else had already been selected for the job. Alex requested her to sill share her CV for his review for any future opportunity that would arise. She immediately shared the CV as instructed via email.
The next morning, she received a call from that contact she had been referred to, telling her that apparently the person who had been selected had the experience but had been away from employment for a number of years and hence lacked current experience related to the Job.
He went on to inform her that after reviewing her CV they thought she was the best fit for the Job based on her qualification and the job-related experience and at least she had been in the system. She was there after requested to share all documentation, including all statutory required documentations required for employments. She only had her certificates and the Higher education loans board certificate indicating that she had cleared with her loan.
He informed her to try and get the other statutory documents. Normally the documents are clearance certificates from Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Directorate of Criminal Investigations (CID), Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) and Higher Education loans Board (HELB).
Acquiring such documents is usually a hustle since it required days and money. She was in a fix since she was away from the City center and it would have been challenging accessing the government institutions that would facilitate.
Alex called her to follow up and find out whether she was facing challenges getting the statutory documents. He told her that he knew someone at Huduma center (government institution that facilitates statutory documentations) who would be able to process the documents for her. So, he said that he would talk to that guy and share his number. He later shared the contacts of the person. Juma was his name.
After contacting Juma concerning the same, he confirmed that he had been called by Alex and understands the urgency. Indeed, there would be cost implication of this which Juma requested to be sent after the documents have been processed and sent directly to Alex. For her this was a better plan since she was in a tight place and could not get permission to head to Huduma center. She would have struggled going to EACC, KRA and all the other institutions and so if he would have done the documents for her to pick later, that would be great for now.
CRB was kes.2500, which checked out with what she had inquired from the friend at Metropol. What she did not know was that tax compliance was free. So having trusted him with the cost of the other two that she had confirmed made her not put a thought in inquiring about tax compliance from KRA.
She told herself that since it was an urgent matter, she could pay the entire amount and even if she doesnt get the job at least she would get these documents since they are a requirement in most job applications. She didnt think of this as a scam since Juma had not asked for any cash in as far as following up on the documents was concerned. Juma requested her to share the normal details of the documents which she did immediately.
Meanwhile, Alex called and told her that apparently the CEO did not prefer the other lady they had interviewed and that he wanted to talk to her immediately. He also mentioned that she might know how thinks work in government institutions, and that she would have to pay some appreciation for the facilitation of this and ensuring that she is the considered candidate.
She informed Alex that that would be a challenge since, she was not prepared for this and had no money especially being the middle of the month. Alex told her not to worry, but to just speak out and explain the same to the CEO, since sometimes people fail to express themselves and end up losing such great opportunities. He told her that she can even tell him that she would appreciate them later. He told her not to mention the same to the cousin since the cousin didnt want her best interest and had already proposed another lady for the job.
Alex requested her to write a cover letter addressing it to the CEO of the said organization (name withheld) and gave her the name of the CEO.
All seemed legitimate.
The CEO called him and requested if he could engage her on a few questions on phone. He asked her the normal interview questions, i.e academic qualification, years of experience, background etc. She had prepared for the same, so she answered all the questions asked. He explained to her the salary for the job which looked lucrative, especially with the other additional allowances. He also stated that after her probation period the salary was bound to be reviewed to a higher scale. He then went ahead and assured her that based on her qualification, she will get the job and she really stood out amidst the other candidates. And that there was nothing to make him think that she did not deserve that job.
He asked her whether Alex had prepared regarding an appreciation for the facilitators who would make this work in her favor. He mentioned that there were seven panel members who needed to be appreciated for ensuring that she becomes top candidate.
He then asked whether she knew what to do, but she said she hoped to be guided on what was expected. He asked her whether she had ever worked in government and whether she knew how things operate in such institutions. She responded that she had never worked in government.
So, he stated that the penal constituted seven members and out of them four were external members and that all these members needed to be appreciated with an amount of Kshs. 10,000 each.
Due to her current financial state she requested of she could appreciate the once she has gotten her first salary. He told her that this would work for the internal members, but would be a problem for the external members of the panel, since they were only seating in and never to be contacted again afterwards.
He informed her that they were giving her at least fifteen minutes for her to source for any money and then get back to them before they make the decision. He requested her to inform Alex to print the documents requested for in seven copies and bring them immediately at the Boardroom.
She immediately contacted Alex and gave her the information and asked whether he had gotten the other statutory documents from the government instruction that were being worked on by Juma since Juma has mentioned that he would send them direct.
She informed Alex about the request made by the CEO concerning the appreciation and Alex encouraged her to source for anything that she could get and then revert back.
She immediately searched for the cash, Kshs.20,000 and sent to the CEO and requested her to respond with a confirmation whether he received the cash. He responded that he had received it.
He then called after twenty minutes and stated that they had looked at the applications. He informed her that that they had ten candidates application that they were reviewing, and that the problem was that for all the applicants that had applied and placed appreciation, hers was the smallest. That it was hard for him to convince the panel. He requested her to source for more money. He requested her to look for Kshs.30,000.
Apparently, after bringing up all this and the additional candidates issue, she relapsed that she had been conned since initially there was no mention of others.
Apparently this three people ,Juma, the person who worked at the government institution that was to share the statutory document, Alex the guy who had been referred to her and the CEO, Dr. Kimani were at the same place and had swindled her the amount that she had already submitted and were about to swindle her more money before she realized it.
Due to the unemployment rate leading to desperation among Kenyans, many job seekers are finding themselves in situations of venerability to being swindled. The following are some the examples of the scrams used:
1. The position indicates a “first year compensation promise” that is excessively higher than the average compensation for that position type, or lists a very wide range, which the fraudster requires a small upfront payment to obtain. If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim, or simply disappears.
2. The position indicates a “first year compensation promise” that is excessively higher than the average compensation for that position type, or lists a very wide range
3. Fraudsters will charge you an application, training, or screening (for background checks) fee before employment and sometimes will guarantee employment at the end of it. You will pay money, but you will not get a job at the end. They also may send you a cheque to pay for these things, but the cheque will be fraudulent.
4. The posting appears to be from a reputable, familiar company yet, the domain in the contact’s email address does not match the domain used by representatives of the company (this is typically easy to determine from the company’s website). Another way to validate is to cross reference the open positions on the company’s official website.
5. The contact email address contains the domain @live.com or @gmail.com or @yahoomail.com. This information is mostly circulated on social media especially on WhatsApp groups
6. The posting includes many spelling and grammatical errors.
7. The posting neglects to mention the responsibilities of the job. Instead, the description focuses on the amount of money to be made.
How to avoid the scams
1. Use your best judgment, research and discretion when applying for jobs.
2. If a company or organization is mentioned in an ad or interview, contact that company to find out if the company really is hiring through the service.
3. Do not send money! Legitimate employers don’t charge to hire you or to get you started.
4. When you notice a scam, always share the same with authorities and the company that has been mentioned so that they may be able to deal with the same and no one else falls prey over the same.
5. Think Twice: If it sounds too good to be true, you can be sure it is!
Further readings of such cases and tips on dealing with job scams: