Criminals target unemployed locals with job scams

TONGA – Paying cash to secure a job opportunity is fraud, and should be reported to the nearest police station.

This is the warning local police sent out to community members last week following numerous complaints of people being conned by fraudsters.

Police have found that the criminals pose as government or related industry officials, and offer community members high-paying jobs. In some cases, if the person does not have the right qualification they promise to help him or her obtain it. Some fraudsters also promise students bursaries or learnerships.

Victims are required to pay a certain amount via EFT or cardless money transfer services to secure the offer. After receiving the money, the fraudsters are never heard from again.

At the end of June, Nkomazi Local Municipality requested the help of the Hawks after job scammers used its name to commit fraud.

READ: Nkomazi residents lose thousands of Rands in job scam

In this case, municipal spokeman Mr Cyril Ripinga explained that criminals called residents to notify them of vacancies in the municipality.

The applicants were told to email their CVs and deposit money into a certain bank account to secure employment.

Once that had been done, the victims were informed that had secured the job and needed to report to a certain official at the municipality. They were later shocked to find that the official does not exist.

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Ripinga stated that such criminals have been deceiving people for several months and that several cases were reported to local police stations. Some of the victims lost between R10 000 and R20 000.

The public was reminded that all municipal vacancies were required to be advertised in the local newspaper. Applicants will be called for an interview, and successful candidates will be contacted with an offer.

Ripinga stressed that no payment will ever be requested to secure a job, as it constitutes fraud and is a criminal offence.

In March police managed to catch a fraudster before he could get away with thousands of rand from 13 people.

The man ran a fake recruitment campaign for RCL Foods interns in October 2016, in which matriculants were invited to apply and had to pay R1 500 for transport to a training college in Durban.

READ: Alleged fraudster arrested at the last moment

Something seemed suspicious to one of the parents, who contacted RCL Foods to obtain more information. The company informed him that no such campaign existed and he immediately contacted the police.

Malelane SAPS managed to arrest the suspect on fraud charges before the group left town.

If an offer seems suspicious or a recruitment officer, official or company employee requires money to secure a job, community members are urged to contact the police immediately.

Job offers or internships should be verified with the company, not just the person who contacted you.

Police also urged community members never to meet with prospective employers alone in an area they do not know. Always let your family know where you are going, how to contact you and what to do if you do not contact them within a certain time frame.

Retha Nel

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