Times are tough, but that means that you also have to be extra careful when looking for a job today.
Unfortunately, as job seeking on the Internet has become more common, it has also become easier for job scammers to bait victims. Many of these ‘job offers’ are sent through email or advertised on websites (some may even show up on trustworthy job portals).
Be on the lookout for some of the most common job scams out there:
- Advertisements that require payment up front
Some job scams will require applicants to pay a ‘training’ or ‘materials’ fee ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand ringgit.
A similar scam targets those who are seeking employment overseas. Con artists, posing as overseas recruitment agencies, ask victims to pay a ‘visa processing fee’ and hand over personal identification documents like your IC or passport in order to ‘expedite your immigration documents’.
- Advertisements that ask you to receive money or transport goods
Likewise beware of ads, especially in online job portals, for jobs that ask you to receive and transfer money in your bank account in exchange for a fee, usually a percentage of the transacted amounts. These are money-laundering schemes that make use of bank accounts to funnel through money derived from illegal activities. When the criminals are caught, the holders of the bank accounts can also be arrested for assisting in the criminal activities.
Another more insidious variety of this scam involves the recruitment of ‘couriers’ or ‘agents’ to accompany locked luggage or sealed packages on international flights. These job ads promise luxurious, jet-set lifestyles and international travel opportunities, but more often than not, the unsuspecting travellers are carrying dangerous drugs and other illegal substances.
- Multi-level-marketing/pyramid schemes
Sometimes advertised as ‘marketing executive’ or ‘customer service representative’ positions, these schemes are based on recruiting people to sell products and to recruit others to do the same. You may be asked to pay various fees (registration, membership, subscription etc), buy several hundred ringgit worth of products to sell, and pay to attend expensive training sessions that are supposed to teach you how to sell these products. As time goes on, recruiters place pressure on their ‘downline’ to buy more and more products. Some unfortunate people have gone into heavy debt due to these pyramid schemes.
These are just a few of the most common job scams encountered by job seekers. There are variants, but most scams follow the same basic script.
To protect yourself while job hunting, it’s worth doing a little background research into the company that you want to apply to so that you don’t end up another victim of a job scam. If the ad supplies a website address, check it out to see if the site exists and if you can get more information about the business. It’s always a good idea to find out more about a business before applying for a job there anyway. If the ad provides an office address and it’s near where you are, try dropping by the premises unannounced to make sure there’s a legitimate business there.
Don’t volunteer too much personal information about yourself. When posting your CV on a jobs website, include only your email address and your mobile phone number as your contact information. If a legitimate employer is genuinely interested in your CV, they will find ways and means to contact you!
In the end, it’s up to you to be smart and savvy enough to spot scams when you’re job hunting. Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.