Fake Jobs, Real Scammers: How to spot fake jobs and steps to take if you’ve been scammed

The dream job you found online could be a nightmare in disguise. Scammers are using advanced tactics to create fake job postings that appear legitimate. Find out how to protect yourself from these fake jobs, and what to do if you have fallen victim to a job scam.

Job scams, fraud and fake jobs have unfortunately become increasingly prevalent in recent years, especially with the rise of online job searching and remote work.

What we are witnessing more and more is a growing trend of job scams becoming increasingly sophisticated. Some of their tactics include copying job descriptions from real companies, using real company logos and even impersonating company recruiters or HR personnel. They may also go so far as to create fake websites and profiles on LinkedIn that look like the company’s officials to lure in job seekers.

Unfortunately, the rise of remote work has made it easier for scammers to operate and disguise their identity. With the increase in remote work opportunities, scammers can offer fake remote positions that require little to no in-person interaction. This makes it easier for them to operate without being detected.

We have also noted trends in scammers targeting vulnerable groups, such as people who are unemployed, new graduates, foreigners and women. They prey on the desire and desperation for employment and may offer unrealistic salaries or job descriptions to lure unsuspecting job seekers in.

With fraud continuing to spread its ugly roots, infesting the job market with its deceptive tactics and malicious intentions, a lot of job scams can lead to identity theft. These scams may require job seekers to provide personal information, such as their ID number, bank account information, or other sensitive data. This information can then be used for identity theft or other fraudulent activities.

But what is even more frightening, is that some job scams are part of larger criminal networks. Job scams are often linked to larger criminal networks, such as money laundering or human trafficking rings. These criminal organizations use fake job postings as a way to lure in victims and exploit them for their own gain.

It is clear that job scams are becoming a more significant risk for job seekers, posing a real danger to both their financial and personal safety. When searching for jobs online, vigilance is essential. Jobseekers cannot be ignorant of the safety concerns that job scams pose.

With the goal to empower our job seekers to identify and protect themselves against job scams and fake jobs; we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers to provide our jobseekers with the necessary knowledge and tools to navigate the job market safely and confidently.

What are some common signs of a job scam?

  • The job asks you to pay money upfront for training, equipment, or an ‘agent fee’ to guarantee the job.
  • The job is poorly written or has numerous spelling and grammar errors.
  • The job does not list the name of the company or provide vague information.
  • The job promises unrealistic pay or benefits.
  • The job scammer requests personal information upfront.
  • The job scammer uses high-pressure tactics to create a sense of urgency, preventing the jobseeker from taking time to research and make an informed decision.
  • The job scammer’s identity feels impossible and confusing to verify.
  • The job scammer requests for instant payment methods (like Paypal, Payfast etc.) Scammers use these payment processing services to quickly and easily collect money from their victims without leaving any paper trail.

What should I do if I think I’ve fallen victim to a job scam?

  • Stop all communication with the scammer immediately.
  • Contact your bank to report any fraudulent charges or suspicious activity.
  • Report the scam (see below)
  • Change your passwords and monitor your credit reports for any suspicious activity.

Can job scams be reported to authorities? If so, where and how?

You can report the scam to the South African Police Service (SAPS) by visiting your nearest police station or by calling the national emergency number 10111.

You can also report the scam to the SAFPS (Southern African Fraud Prevention Service), which is a non-profit organization that helps to prevent fraud and financial crimes in South Africa. You can report the scam to SAFPS by visiting their website at www.safps.org.za and completing their online reporting form.

Additionally, you can report the scam to the Department of Labour, which is responsible for promoting employment and protecting workers’ rights in South Africa. You can contact the Department of Labour by visiting their website at www.labour.gov.za or by calling their toll-free number 0800 030 007.

It’s important to provide as much information as possible when reporting a job scam, including the name and contact details of the company or individual involved, the type of job advertised, any payment or personal information requested, and any other relevant details. Reporting job scams can help to prevent others from falling victim to similar scams, and can also help authorities to investigate and prosecute those responsible.

How can I verify the legitimacy of a company offering me a job?

  • Research the company online. Most legitimate companies will have a website with information about their products or services, company history, and contact details. Look for a physical address and contact number, and verify that they match the details provided in the job offer.
  • Check the company’s social media presence. Legitimate companies will often have active social media accounts with regular updates and engagement with their customers. Check if the company has a verified account on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Check the company’s registration. Companies in South Africa are required to register with the CIPC – Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (a member of the dtic Group). You can verify a company’s registration by searching the CIPC’s database on their website at cipc.co.za .
  • Check the company’s rating and reviews on websites like Glassdoor and com.
  • Contact the company directly to ask about the job posting and verify its legitimacy.
  • Check with recruitment agencies. If you were contacted by a recruitment agency on behalf of the company, contact the agency to verify their relationship with the company and the legitimacy of the job offer. If you have a name call in and verify that the person actually works there.

Are job scams more common in certain industries or job types?

Job scams can occur in any industry or job type, but some industries and job types may be more susceptible to scams than others. According to the Better Business Bureau, the most common job scams include work-from-home jobs, secret shopper jobs, and jobs that require upfront fees to secure employment. The healthcare, finance, and IT industries may also be more susceptible to scams due to the sensitive nature of the information involved.


Remember, job hunting can be a stressful process, but taking the time to research the company and job posting can help you avoid scams and find legitimate opportunities. Be wary of any requests for personal information or payment upfront, and trust your instincts if something feels off. Your safety and security should always come first. By staying vigilant and informed, you can protect yourself while pursuing your dream job. Good luck with your search!



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