Fraudsters Taking Advantage Of Desperate Job Seekers During Covid-19 Pandemic

In the last 24 hours, at least 3 fake job adverts claiming to be from the ill-fated Tuskys supermarket have been doing rounds on social media.

The post details vacancies in various departments such as procurement, cleaning, accounts, health and shop attendants.

Interested parties are advised to click on a Google docs page which collects personal information and directs the applicants to pay a registration fee of Sh 450 for online application processing.

Grace Muthoni fell for the scam recently and after sending money to an official listed on the site, she was sure she would be refunded if at all she does not get the position she had applied for.

A few weeks later, there has been no communication from the firm and the number that received the payment is off. One week later, Grace saw the same advert doing rounds, albeit with a different phone number with a different name.

“I saw this ad and proceeded to apply for a job and sent money. To date, I have not received communication from them and when I went personally to Tuskys Supermarket to find out about the positions, I was told they are not recruiting,” she wrote in a Facebook post.

Thousands of job seekers who have been rendered jobless after the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic are having to grapple with an industry full of scammers and charmers who promise great jobs, with high pay and benefits, only for them to disappear after enticing the seeker and squeezing them out of their hard earned cash.

The fraudsters use the names of Big Corporations such as Kenya Powers, Banks, Carrefour Supermarkets, Coca Cola and many others.

After completing her journalism course at Egerton University, Rose Nyambura decided to start hunting for a job to cushion her family from the hard hitting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Being in her final month of internship, she kept her eyes and ears open for job opportunities and was quite thrilled when she saw one online.

“It was very attractive and I could not have been more thrilled,” she says. “A number had been provided. On calling, I was asked to send my CV, KCSE details and a brief description of myself.

“A few days later received a call from a man who said I had been shortlisted for an interview. He told me to bring a smartphone, laptop, notebook and a pen,” she narrates.

The man also requested her to send Sh 5,000 “so he could talk nicely to the bosses and speed up processing of a Certificate of good conduct,” which she did not have.

The elated Rose shared this with her friend who, it turns out, had been down the same road. The friend had been robbed and conned of Sh 5000 and a smartphone when she went to interview for the same TV position. Had it not been for her friend, she would have sent and lost her money too, and maybe more if she would have ended up being invited for an interview.

These Fraudsters are taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to fleece desperate Kenyans through posters, social media and social media posts and pages promising jobs. They collect hundreds of thousands of shillings every day from unsuspecting youth and older people hoping to land jobs. Those who are scammed online and on the  phone are requested to send fees for ‘processing’, ‘bribes’, ‘medical examinations’, ‘registration’ and such.

Applicants who actually present themselves for an interview end up losing money as well as devices such as phones or laptops.

In various parts of the country, this has become a norm. In Nakuru, electricity poles and walls in most residential estates are adorned with various flyers and posters advertising various vacancies with attractive returns, benefits, commissions, company vehicles and annual bonuses.

In Nairobi, a walk through the foot bridges will reveal such posters detailing huge numbers of vacancies for mass recruitment; unfortunately, some of the busiest and most reputable buildings at the CBD have been infiltrated by the cons who do not mind buying advertising space in the sealed glass notice boards where they place the job adverts.

The jobs normally include NGOs, health institutions, Hotels, Law firms, tour companies and a lot more. They use captivating fonts, alluring graphics and persuasive language to beguile their targets and leave contact details for further engagement.

Many Kenyans have different experiences in the hands of conmen; who are so daring that just last week, they managed to infiltrate the system when Nakuru county announced vacancies for 800 medical specialists in 73 sections within the health department.

Health CEC Dr. Zachary Kariuki issued a notice saying, “We have received information that unscrupulous people are calling applicants shortlisted for positions in the health department asking for money to secure positions. We notify the public to be aware of these con artists. We do not condone corruption.”

In January this year, the Directorate of Criminal Investigation expressed concern over the number of fraudsters conning jobseekers. Through Twitter, the DCI urged job seekers to be vigilant and confirm directly with the corporates purported to be advertising jobs online.

Most of these conmen use emails to offer the jobs, and the applicants should also check the validity of the email address and consider them spam, the DCI said.

“Beware of the emails, which offer jobs in exchange for money. No organization or company ever asks for money to work for them,” the DCI warned.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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