Hiring is usually a two-way process between the potential employee and the employer. However, it is becoming popular to outsource the recruitment function to third-party recruitment agencies. With this comes the rise of the fake staffing agencies – scammers who look to take advantage of unsuspecting victims seeking employment in the South African job market.
MASA has been offering recruitment services for over 40 years and has built up a credible track record with clients who rely on these specialised outsourced services. We see how scams negatively impact recruiting agencies and the employment industry as companies and job seekers become less trusting in these services.
“Most scams are absurd – so absurd that one wonders how anyone falls for them at all; yet if no one falls for them, how do the scammers make money?” James Veitch
South Africans face an uphill battle with these sorts of scams. Given the nature of the high unemployment rate, scammers are targeting more people who are desperately looking for work, thus making them easy targets.
This article explores the rise of fake staffing agencies in South Africa and what companies and job seekers can do to stay above these scams.
If you are looking for a credible solution for your employment needs, contact MASA to partner with a trusted staffing agency with over 40 years of industry experience.
Sugar looks like salt, don’t trust everything if you see
Just because something is perceived as one way does not always mean that it is. Sometimes the need to question authenticity is required; if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. More and more fake staffing agencies have been popping up, and those seeking out employment services need to be more vigilant than ever before.
Typical scams to look out for inclusion are not limited to the following, as scammers are continuously coming up with new ways to take advantage of people and companies. With social media platforms becoming more and more popular ways for people to connect, scammers are using these large networks of people to share information at the click of a button.
We all, at some point, know of someone looking for a job with a rising urgency and desperation. Fictitious recruitment companies operate by reaching out to as many people as possible, and it takes one professional-looking email or message to get involved with one of them. Many victims will invest irreplaceable time, energy and money before realising what is happening, and it often takes the authorities even longer to shut down these scam operations.
Fake Job Applications and Interviews
In some workplace scams, the fake staffing agency sends an initial job offer or links to factitious job advertisements. Fraudsters target job seekers by listing non-existent jobs in the hope of getting money or personal details to use in identity theft. One should be slightly wary if the application is overly simple or if you are offered a job immediately without providing much information about yourself or your career history.
An employment agency without testimonials, referrals or verifiable reviews is an easy red flag to spot. Job seekers should always be wary of such details before they input personal information on any platform, especially in today’s digital age.
Sign Up for Trial Periods
Fake recruitment agencies tell applicants they have been shortlisted as two possible candidates who potentially will have an opportunity to work for the company after completing a trial period for a specific time. The company’s name and website seem legitimate, but it is a ploy for scammers to obtain the candidates’ personal information.
The POPIA Act in South Africa has made this more difficult. However, it is still vital for job seekers to actively check and verify if the process is legitimate before passing on sensitive personal information such as ID numbers, personal addresses, and banking details.
Pay for Item Scams
Popular employment scams are when scammers ask job seekers to make an upfront payment in the form of an “administration fee” for job placement. Asking about any aspect of the service, including general terms and conditions and the total cost, is essential to distinguish whether the offered service is legitimate.
If a company wants to get a cash advance from you in exchange for a job, it’s illegal in South Africa and most likely a scam. It is a popular way for people to be duped out of some money, as they believe they are receiving assistance to find a job. In Mpumalanga back in 2017, 75 unemployed youth paid up to R610 000.00 after being offered positions to work for the Department of Health after enrolling at a nurse training college.
Outlandish Job Offers
These specific scams tend to focus on job descriptions and pay scales that seem far better than what the market is currently offering for the advertised role. The most obvious thing to look for is the market-related salary. Conducting some research is vital to know what companies are paying other people in a similar field for the same work.
Other potential indicators are high-paying incomes with part-time hours. These jobs are advertised as potential “get rich quick” opportunities that should raise red flags.
How to Spot a Scam
Scams have created mistrust in the industry, and it is crucial for companies and people to work with accredited agencies verified as legitimate businesses. One way to do this is to do a thorough background check on the company before using its services. This check could include visiting their website, asking, and contacting references.
Using legitimate platforms where employers and recruiters need to pay to advertise for positions is a good indicator to look out for as there is some credibility. However, this is not always the case. Some scammers can be challenging to spot as those posting the jobs often use information from legitimate companies and use details they find online, making it difficult to spot a fake.
Fightback against scammers
Both companies and potential candidates should remain wary of potential scams that might be going on. Stats SA fell victim to one such agency and sent out a warning message via its website for people to remain vigilant for such antics. Coca-Cola has recently undergone employment fraud, indicating that even the most prominent brands are potential targets to these organised criminals.
It is important to report incidents of such nature to the relevant parties or the police. MASA is a leading national and international employment/staffing agency capable of effectively managing the critical elements of your employment/staffing needs ready to facilitate seamless hiring and onboarding of new employees for your company.
If you require assistance with hiring, onboarding, and training new employees in a range of industries, be sure to contact us so you can leverage the top staffing employment and labour outsourcing services in SA.
Check out our article on 5 Reasons Why South African Companies Need Top Staffing Solutions to learn more.