Unemployment in Nigeria as far as many can remember has always been a problem. It is a challenge that is as old as the concept of job creation. A lot of people believe that hunger is the worst part of unemployment, but research has shown that it is not. The worst part of unemployment is the idleness; the minute you wake up in the morning without a defined purpose, unemployment slams you right in the face. Idle minds are therefore known as the devil’s playground, because out of it springs trouble. For Nigeria, one of the recent troubles brought about by the high rate of unemployment is job scam. OLAJIDE FABAMISE looks at various ways and proffers solutions.

Fake recruiters and employers cause a lot of pain to job seekers, because they prey on their psychological and emotional intelligence. These job seekers invariably fall victim because of their desperation. The promise of a job lets them forget to question the integrity of the supposed employment agency or company offering employment.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the rate of employment in Nigeria skyrocketes every, leaving qualified persons hopeless, demoralised and desperate. While economic recession was a contributing factor, unemployment in the opinion of Mr. Clement Ekah, a Human Resource officer, who spoke with LEADERSHIP is a problem Nigeria has never truly tackled. This has given rise to job scams in Nigeria.

Though job scams have been around for some time, recently, their tactics have included more exotic and elaborate details that draw the unwitting victim in.

Whatever their technique is and how they go about it, their goal is always the same; to separate their victims from their money. These fraudsters are becoming more and craftier in the way they operate, and it’s becoming more difficult to differentiate between a scam and a legitimate job vacancy.

All around Lagos, you see posters, banners and people sharing flyers of dream jobs, saying salary starts from a very attractive amount. In other cases, these job adverts come in via text message like this that a respondent showed to one of our respondents:

“F/C Limited invites you for a career chat/interview by 9:00am on Friday, 10/2/17 at 92 Ikorodu Road beside First Bank, Palm Groove, Lagos. 0816*****27 REF No:FC/35/CN.”

One of the intended victims that spoke with LEADERSHIP on anonymous said, “I knew it was fake because I had never applied for a job. Immediately I finished NYSC, I got married and went into business. I served in the East, so it could not have been from my NYSC days. Where did they get my number? I think Nigeria as a whole is just a very insecure country. I’m sure they bought numbers in bulk.”

While some are after extorting money from their preys, others simply claim to be what they are not. The worst of them all however are kidnappers who masquerade as employers. These ones hold their victims captive till their families pay some sort of ransom.

Another popular scam involves the fraudsters posing as an agency where they demand outrageous sums of money to help job seekers secure good employment.

Sadly, there are many others. Kayode, a former employee of United Bank of Africa, UBA, shared a story with LEADERSHIP on how he fell victim of one such job scams. “I was a teller at UBA, and I resigned to pursue further education. When I finished my HND, I didn’t have a job, so I began to apply any and everywhere. I called all my old customers at the bank. This was last year. One day, I saw a very nice message saying I should come for registration and processing in Opebi. Me, I didn’t even check the name of the company, but the address was there. I was so happy, because they said I should come the following day. I just thought it was one of the companies I had applied to, or someone that sent my details to them. I got there the following day and I discovered it was all these multilevel marketing nonsense. The stupid people even wanted me to pay five thousand to start again.

“I was so angry; I just told them to give me my CV that they collected when I got there. I cannot waste my CV on them. I wasted transport fare and time. The next time I got that type of text message, I replied it with a curse. Stupid people. I had told my whole family that I had gotten a job.”

Kayode is not alone in his frustrated debacle. Tunde Bello, a horticulture graduate of University of Abeokuta explained that she was working at an agricultural produce firm at Ogba where she was earning N46, 000. She went further to share that she got a message to come for an interview somewhere in Agege. “When I got to the place, everything looked nice. They even served us some drinks, which they said was also one of the products they sold. At the end of the entire interview, I realised that it was just like network marketing, but they told us that it was not like that. They even said I did not have to come to work every day that I would simply market the products, and that there was a market for it. Since I was desperate for a better job, I quit my job in the agric firm and joined them.

“The products I was to sell are still in my wardrobe at home. I did not get a dime. They kept asking me to get numbers of people so that they can come and join the company. It is just a scam.”

Some other scams include recruitment in obscure, out of the way places. A lady who refused to give her name explained that the last interview of that sort that she went for put the fear of God in her heart. “When I got to the address sent by a Mr. John at Anthony where the interview was supposed to take place, I kept looking for it but I couldn’t find it. So I called the Mr. John again, and he directed me to one bush path that looked like a goat trail. That’s how I started walking till I got to one shop. The woman that was there said she didn’t know any office in the area, that there was no office around. Immediately she said it, I wisened up and ran back. The Mr. John kept calling till I got home.”

Not all multi-level marketing are scams Stephen, a multilevel marketer explains. “The only reason we com municate through text messages is so that they believe it is real. If we tell them it is marketing, they wont come.

But when they come and we explain to them, those that are interested are allowed to join and others are free to go. That is not a scam. We start with a seminar to prepare them. It is after that we inform them of the amount they need to pay to register. It is not as if we force them. Those that are hard working even tually get results.

“We always need people to join the

down line, so we can never stop recruiting. I have seen people buy cars, build houses with multilevel marketing, so you people should stop saying it is a scam.”

In a proactive manner, some ‘resourceful’ Nigerian graduates have also taken to the streets in desperation to search for jobs. It has become commonplace to find a lone young man or lady standing at a strategic, visible location with an inscribed board begging for a job. While some laugh, the evidence is said to be in the results they generate.

But is this what the future of Nigeria holds? A generation of graduates desperate enough to peddle their resumes on the streets in search of a job asks a labour expert.

An online jobs website that gives employers access to the most relevant pool of qualified job-seekers recently released a list of things to watch out for in job related scams.

Many experts have advise that the golden rule is never part with your money. Any job offer that requires that you pay a fee in advance is probably not real. Most reputable companies will absorb these costs themselves. If the recruiter offers to train you for the job, in return for money, walk away.

According to them a recruiter or company that corresponds from a free e-mail accounts   such, as Yahoo, Live, Hotmail or Gmail is likely not authentic. Le gitimate job related e-mails would come from corporate e-mail accounts. Though there are exceptions.

“Do a Google search on the company name and see what information you can find. Compare it to the information that you have been sent. Take a look at their website, if they have any. When you Google them, and you find nothing, only job postings, or warnings, they’re most probably not real.

“Always remember that reputable companies are not going to offer you a role without interviewing you first. Flattering as it may seem that they were so impressed with your resume, that they have offered you a position without meeting you first, the reality is, that you are probably being duped if this happens. Never, ever accept a job offer that has come through via e-mail, when you have never had a telephonic or face-to-face interview.

He said applicants who receive an offer in your inbox for a job that you never applied for, and it sounds too good to be true, then it is too good to be true, alabour and capacity building expert, Udo Fade adviced.

“Salaries that are way over what you would normally earn are another pointer. Getting paid a really high salary is not the norm for all job seekers. Any legitimate employer will evaluate your skill set and experience, before deciding on what you are worth. If the company offers you a salary that is completely out of your range, and experience, you are probably in the process of being scammed.

“Be cautious of e-mails with grammatical and spelling mistakes. They often use fake URLs to mask themselves as large well-known organisations. Double check the URL or the web address of the company. You may think that you are on a well-known company’s website, when you are actually on a malicious website. So always check the website URL first.

Vague sketchy job descriptions are also key signs. If you read the job description and at the end of it, you are not really sure what the job actually entails, or when you analyse it and the role states that there is no specific skill necessary for the job and anyone/everyone would qualify, you are probably about to be scammed. The majority of jobs will require at least some experience or qualification. Most of them will need you to start immediately. Their requests are very urgent, so you don’t have time to wait. That means they don’t want you to take the time to think about what they are asking or to do any research before you respond.