The emergence of social media platforms and online job portals has made it easier to find your ideal job, but it has also given rise to fraudsters who prey on job seekers who are in desperate need of work.
Larisha Naidoo, the head of Zimele, Anglo American’s enterprise and supplier development division, has provided advice on how to be safe online while applying for jobs outlining red flags to look out for.
Naidoo argues that in today’s digital landscape, awareness is essential since scammers deploy sophisticated strategies.
Sumsub’s third annual Identity Fraud Report states that South Africa saw a 1 200% rise in deep-fake frauds in the last year where people steal images to impersonate them and even go as far as manipulating their voice to sound like them.
“So it’s crucial to stay informed and exercise caution throughout your job search. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” she said.
Naidoo detailed some common red flags to watch out for:
Unsolicited WhatsApp offers: Legitimate companies usually have official WhatsApp channels for communication. Double-check their website and social media pages for authorised channels and enquire about the specific job offer from there.
Mismatched email addresses: Scrutinise company email addresses as scammers often mimic the company’s official format, but with slight variations, like adding an extra letter.
Missing job postings: If the supposed opportunity is not advertised on the company website or official social media pages, it’s probably a scam, Naidoo noted. Always check their official channels for legitimate vacancies.
Typos and grammatical errors: Professional companies prioritise quality control, so documents with spelling errors or grammatical mistakes should raise suspicions.
Upfront payments: Legitimate companies never ask for money up front for job opportunities or secure contracts. Beware of requests for quotes (RFQs) demanding prepayments.
Phishing attempts: Scammers often use suspicious links or prize offers to phish for personal and banking information. Never click on such links or provide sensitive details unless you are absolutely certain of the source’s legitimacy.
Pressure tactics: Scammers often try to create a sense of urgency, pressuring you to make quick decisions without proper research.
Fake interviews: Be sceptical if an interview is conducted solely through emails or messaging apps. Legitimate companies usually conduct video or phone interviews at the very least, or they ask you to come in, in person.