Of Scams that Seek the Unemployed

I once read a tweet that angrily demanded that the worst spaces in hell be reserved for those who fart in airplanes at high altitudes. If someone could be so disgusted about a natural phenomenon, imagine the anger when you see people prey on persons seeking jobs to earn a living. In a country with high unemployment levels, many persons are desperately seeking employment opportunities. Sadly, many fall prey to crooks whose job is to scam the jobless. The scammed are even the fortunate ones; some applicants are robbed, beaten, raped, or even killed.

Someone close to me informed me he had received an interview invite and wanted my opinion on whether he should attend the interview. Aware of a growing list of reported scam interview invites on Nairaland, I checked the popular forum and found nothing to suggest the company was fraudulent. Regular internet searches turned up nothing solidly suspicious. The company has a sparse website, which I noticed was just registered a month ago. I called a contact number on the website and spoke with a lady who seemed legit and claimed she had worked there for about seven years. She explained they had issues with their website and had just reactivated it. I checked their Facebook Page and noticed they had at least four years of posts. I still had some doubts but advised my contact to attend the interview but walk away if he were asked to pay any money.

This person would later tell me he attended the interview, and after keeping the interviewees waiting for over four hours, the “MD” informed them that Pro Sterling Integrated Services at 13 Omoku Street, D-Line, Port Harcourt, would employ them subject to participation in a “free training”. However, they would need to pay about ₦37,000 for their “kits and certificate”. I felt obliged to apologise for advising him to attend the purported interview. The wasted four hours could have been better spent counting the number of cars passing near the latest flyover being constructed in Port Harcourt. Sadly, I can bet that some desperate persons would pay the requested sum in hope of landing a job.

Why are unscrupulous elements able to keep pulling off these scams? I think the government is complicit in letting the scams continue. Scour the web and you would see myriads of complaints about certain “companies” that invite people for interviews only to request payment for pre-employment training, or cajole tired applicants to register for one multi-level marketing gimmick or another. One recurrent address is 150B Oba Ogunji Road, Ogba, Lagos State. I even received an interview invite from one “Rybid Consult” some hours before drafting this article. Unfortunately for them, I am very well employed.

It is really saddening that despite repeated complaints online, neither the regular police, nor the “secret police” have found any reason to raid the addresses commonly used by scam companies. At least, if they were raided, they would be forced to change addresses, because it is disheartening to find the same addresses being used for sham interview invites over a five-year timeframe. The police and their acclaimed “crack detectives” cannot honestly say they are unaware of these scams, or require a formal complaint before they can act.

Thanks to complaints posted on websites like Nairaland, I have been able to stop some persons from wasting time and effort travelling across state borders to attend “interviews”. With a quick check on Nairaland, I can see if someone has mentioned that a certain company or email address or physical address is associated with a sham interview. However, as clearly shown in the Port Harcourt case, some scammers manage to avoid the complaints radar. I hope to see the government start cracking down on these scammers, but the most sustainable solution would be to massively grow the economy to create abundant jobs such that those whose job is to scam the jobless would be jobless.

Image Credit: fraudxpose.com


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