Beware of fake job adverts

How fake job adverts prey on desperate youth

It is the era of everything fake: Fake relationships, fake body parts, fake news and in the same stride, fake job advertisements.

The truth is: Times are tough and changing, the economy favours a chosen few and job opportunities are scarcer than honest politicians.

Nairobi is no longer the only ‘shamba la mawe’. Everywhere else is.

It is a common joke that you have never been broke if you have not attended a meeting by a network marketer or suspect pyramid scheme in a dingy hotel room in Nairobi.

Close behind are fake job scams.

With the introduction of the Internet, anyone with access and basic literacy skills can pose as a future employer.

You have most likely seen the posts on Facebook that promise heaven and earth.

They are pretentious and promising at the same time. A group of people poses next to cars and captions the photo with something that goes like;

“Want to earn money from the comfort of your home? Don’t seek employment.

Create employment.” Later on, you see another group of people posing with the same cars. Or you have most likely accepted an odd friend request and within ten seconds of the digital friendship, received a message that reads,

“Hi, I’ve been doing business for quite some time and I have an opportunity to share with you.

We deal with Health Business Innovations that allow you to work with us as a practitioner either part-time or full-time and make profits of over Sh9,000 daily.

You just need a smartphone as a basic requirement.

Free training is offered to get you started and guide you all the way.

Facilitation fee required As soon as you express interest, you are added to a WhatsApp group and the pyramid scheme unfolds.

The so-called job opportunity is a recruiting agency. Suddenly, the training is no longer free and each new member is expected to pay a certain fee.

The recruiter is then given a fee for introducing you to the scheme. The more naive souls you introduce to the business, the more you earn.

Thus, the enterprise, like a proper pyramid scheme, runs behind the facade of a business. Faith Mueni, 23, speaks of her experience with one such scheme.

“I searched online for a digital marketing opportunity and came across one that promised pay of between Sh30,000 and Sh40,000 per week.

At face-value, it was very attractive and I could not have been more thrilled. A number had been provided and on calling it, I was asked to send in my CV, KCSE details and a brief description of my person.

They asked me to go for a meeting with a smartphone, a notebook and pen. On the appointed date, I went to the meeting point located on the first floor of a building in Nairobi’s, CBD.

Upon arrival, I met a friend who was just as desperate as me to land a job.

“They were very convincing and spoke of their herbal vitamins and supplement business.

They read us excerpts of motivational book Rich Dad, Poor Dad and projected images of themselves posing next to cars that were definitely not theirs.

After that, they taught us the quadrant of money which in retrospect, was “How to Scam People 101’’.

They called themselves young millionaires but looked nothing close to that. That greatly bothered me.

They then asked us to invest in their business and divided us into groups.

The first investment would be Sh26,000 shillings. When I demanded
assurance of getting a refund if I invested, they arrogantly answered: “We have paid rent of Sh3 million for five years.

We can’t disappear with just Sh26,000.” “They were very convincing and ready to take any sum of money.

They then asked me when I would get the money, to which I answered the following Monday. For people that had money, they incessantly called me and pressured me to a point that I asked my guardian for a loan.

Luckily for me, he talked me out of it. How they work is that different people act as referrals.

Thus, once you get there, you state who referred you and once you pay, they get a fee.” NGO job scams most prevalent This narrative is not the only one.

Betty Asava talks of an encounter with a fake job advertisement. “Lecturers strikes were so prevalent last year, I needed employment badly.

So, apart from #IkoKaziKe (a popular hashtag on Twitter where Kenyans share job opportunities) and word of mouth leads, I decided to search online for other employment opportunities.

Results yielded from the search were mostly from the classified ads and one was a United Nations opening.

“I hastily applied and to my surprise, a response came soon after. Oddly, however, I was required to pay a fee of Sh1,500 or Sh3,000 thereabouts to ‘facilitate’ the interview.

That and the fact that their website is powered with wix raised red flags for me. Walter shares a similar narrative only that in his case, the organisation was different and he was not as observant as Betty.

“Earlier this year my mum sent me a poster with job opportunity details.

I had to send my CV to a certain email along the lines of Oracle. So I did that and waited for feedback at the edge of my seat.

“Two or three weeks later, I got a reply outlining the job description and the extremely generous pay on offer.

At the end of it, there was a well-calculated request for Sh1,000 payment to secure a training spot. I stupidly sent the money and even called the number to confirm it.

A few hours later, I called the same number again to ask where the training would be. I was in for a rude shock.

The user was unavailable and so was my money. I tried a couple of times with wider time intervals with no response.

“Feeling cheated, I reached out to Oracle Kenya through their page handle. It is then that I learnt that there was a fake poster circulating with their name, purporting to be offering job opportunities.

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