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Job scams; Be wary of internet offers

BY: Lydia Ezit

Some unscrupulous people are taking advantage of the high rate of the unemployment situation in the country to defraud desperate job seekers.

These “middlemen” who ply their trade on social media platforms charge between GH¢200 and GH¢500 under the pretext of securing jobs for their unsuspecting victims.

They post or share attractive job offers on their social media pages and assure their victims of contacts in organisations which can facilitate their gaining employment.

Once payments are made to them usually through mobile money, they stop picking calls and even delete their social media handles.

Experiences

Maame Yeboah Gyabaah, a social media user told The Mirror that a friend on Facebook posted a job offer on his wall and she got attracted to it.


When she contacted him for more details, she was convinced that the middleman could influence the employers to select her, but on condition that she paid GH¢ 500 via mobile money.

‘I transferred the money via the mobile money system but never heard from the guy. I have not been able to track the guy as he has changed his name on the Internet and has probably blocked my account as well’, she wondered.

 Hussein Banka also narrated how one Emmanuel took GH¢200 with a promise to help him to get a job at National Investment Bank (NIB).

 According to Banka, he was excited such that he convinced his brother, also unemployed, to give out money to Emmanuel. 

 “After months of making calls and looking forward to the job offer, Emmanuel kept tossing us and so we insisted that he returned the money. Emmanuel only gave out part of my brother’s after series of threats but had since refused to pay mine.

“Apparently, he does not own any recruitment firm nor has any link to the bank he mentioned. Whenever l call him, he only promises to give me back my money and that’s all,” he narrated.

Social media scam high

The Head of Cyber Unit at the Ghana Police Service, Dr Gustav Yankson, who confirmed the phenomenon, explained that records available at  the unit indicated that fraudulent activities  on social media platforms were on the rise, even ahead of the popular mobile money scam in 2017.

“Fraudulent activities on social media was second on the chart in 2017, but in 2016 it was fourth. It means that it is on the increase”, he pointed out.

He explained that although the police was working hard to create some sanity, it was difficult dealing with cyber issues, especially social media scam.

According to him it was difficult to locate such scammers as the unit had very little resource to tackle such crimes.

 “The arrest level for cyber issues, especially social media scam is quite low because it involves the use of technological tools which we don’t have. The cyber space is different, it takes time and a lot of resources to locate scammers. And the Cyber Unit is only available at the headquarters and not in the regions, how do those in the regions deal with such cases?” he queried.

Dr Yankson explained, “because the unit is  in Accra, people who have experienced cyber crime issues in other regions find the unit  ineffective. These are some of the challenges but we are making efforts, a lot of training is ongoing to improve the capacity of the unit, especially in tracking scammers”.

Advising the public on job scam, Dr Yankson urged social media users to limit the amount of personal information they put on their social media handles as scammers use such information to track people.

According to him, job seekers should identify physical structures of the said organisation and should also desist from paying money for job offers.

A Social Media Influencer, Francis Kennedy Ocloo, also advised users to  ignore such information as the scammers only use such offers as baits to defraud people.

“You apply to a scheme and you are  told to fill forms, add CV, write exams at a fee of GH¢30 or GH¢50. You write this exam and never hear from anyone. Indeed, if you are looking for a job and anyone asks you to pay something for facilitations, I don't think that is reasonable. You might think GH¢50 is insignificant, but multiply that by even 100 people, that is a cool GH¢5,000 chop for these scammers. Be smarter!”