The Greatest Job Scams Ever - Part II
Dais Editorial | 24/01/2022 07:00 PM
One of the most basic human traits – the ability to walk on two legs also known as bipedalism evolved over 4 million years ago. Ever since the key functions of the primitive human being have been centered around fulfilling basic needs – of the need for food and water, shelter and clothing, rest, health and of course – reproduction.
These needs may have evolved into smarter, faster, flashier variations – but these are variations nonetheless. As you buy that wonderfully cut trouser for your next interview or that nice looking shoe for the next catchup with the cousins, the needs are still basic and primitive – still very human.
And the means to fulfilling these needs have gained newer adaptations – what was hunted before, came to be bartered later on and as if almost naturally, transformed into an exchange of paper bills called currency. To earn this currency, commonly known to us as money – humans continued to do what they have traditionally done – hunt, commonly known today as ‘working’. We may be managers, executives, assistants, team leaders, CEOs - we are all hunting, just in a newer variation of the term – fancifully calling the act a job or a career or an enterprise.
Although it is not just money you earn when you work, evolution has brought perquisites alongside. Modern-day professions give you respect and recognition almost always, the acknowledgement of society, the ability to dream and aspire for more.
It is as if working now defines you as a human, rather than the other way around!
But with 7 billion people looking to do the same thing – finding the opportunities of one’s own choosing may be difficult and almost unattainable for a lot of us. So, while we adjust and make do with the hand we are dealt, a lot of us continue to search for the ideal opportunity to match our choices. Parallel vocations of freelancing/part-timing/contracting/advising/consulting/gig-working have cropped up to slightly loosen the grip of the ‘permanent job’ pressure on us. But they haven’t alleviated the pressure completely.
It is little wonder then, that for those who are or are soon going to become a part of the ‘unemployed' or ‘graduated-but-didn’t-get-a-job’ space, the pressure brings around actions that one would normally never take – had the desperation not gotten the better of them. And it is also almost a natural by-product that they become the natural honeycombs for the stinging Scam-bees!
As more of us are clicking into the digital world and scouring online for job opportunities, the scamsters too have found newer grounds to sting those who seem like easy prey.
In the first part of “The Greatest Job Scams Ever!” We talked about how deep this swamp of scams peddling employment opportunities run and how easy it apparently is to fool the unassuming jobseeker for these criminal minds.
From the false hope of no-interview job vacancies to the promises of a shiny overseas employment land, scamsters use every trick in the book to get their kill.
“Our identity in the world must change from Scam India to Skill India.”
~ Shri Narendra Modi
Shri Narendra Modi, India's Hon. Prime Minister has also acknowledged the dark and shady world of employment scams occurring not only in India but around the world. In his maiden Parliament speech on taking over the reins of the country in 2014, Mr. Modi stated that he wants to transform India into a skilled and talented country thus restoring India’s place in the world.
A shameful report in the Atlantic quoting a popular Indian Daily claimed that over 30,000 people get scammed in India on the pretext of a job every year. Top job portals like Naukri and Shine have also joined in the party on a couple of occasions. (Read our Job Scam Report 1)
A lot of us ignore these numbers - until it is us who fall prey to them or someone we know. That is when it hits home – how being fooled at the cusp of landing your dream opportunity quashes your ambitions, your dreams, your hope for a new life and finally that standing in the society your family has craved for.
As we dug and excavated through online portals, ‘help sites’, user forums, Quora communities, consumer complaint sites, and a few more variants; we found some grieving words, some taunts, a few laughs.. The stories of thousands of such conned aspirants become the subject of eerie silence and missing answers. We stepped forward in giving a voice, a podium, for this submerged disgust towards inaction in the part of a system that otherwise intended to make India ‘skilled, talented, scam-free’ 7 years ago. (Read our Job Scam Report 1)
But now, no more screaming. No more screaming from the rooftops against any corrupt system that breeds such inadequacies and is often, hand-in-glove with the perpetrators of such strategic crimes, even if they do never consider such crimes as heinous. It is now time for us to get back, dust ourselves up and give ourselves the karate lesson for self-defense – it is time for us to get ready to never fall prey to these hunting criminals again.
And let us assure you, all is not bad. There are always some red flags visible before any scam happens. With a little bit of prudence and second thought, a lot of these are avoidable.
A survey of those employed in different industries already, as well as students/ unemployed individuals/fresh graduates/freelancers and even the business owners, threw up some warning signals to watch out for and some solutions to still get the desired opportunity without falling prey to a scam.
Here is a list of the mandatory ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’ you should follow before you get associated with anyone who comes across with an ‘opportunity’ -
- Always look out for trusted and certified agencies. Check the legal documents related to the agency – incorporation certificate, MSME certificate, past experience mentioned anywhere online, affiliations to other credible associations.
- Check the background of the consultancy or job agency beforehand. Verify before you trust – check out their website, terms and conditions, policies, redressal mechanisms.
- Do not blindly go to a certain agency with the reference of someone you know. Research thoroughly.
- Have a proper conversation before paying any money. Sometimes having a conversation with the agency can give you the understanding that it’s all just a hoax- ask for their full name, Official email ID, Official bank details, GST certificate, Invoice on a letterhead for the payment due, terms for the payment and service promised.
- Ask for written pieces of evidence and receipts if any amount of money is being paid to the agency – try paying a small token amount first and demand a receipt. Verify if all details are correct and then make the rest of the payment.
- Use well-known professional networking websites e.g.. Linkedin, Quora, Meetup. Visit online job fairs from reputed websites e.g. Naukri, Monster, JobsForHer to seek opportunities and apply to them. Shortcuts are often traps laid by these criminals who know your desperation.
- Do not upload all your information on any website and your resume document. Your educational background, past work experience, phone number and email ID should be enough. Avoid exact home address, Aadhar card numbers, Pan numbers, Passport numbers, names of family members, social media profile links etc. Give these out only when asked.
- Resume writing can be done free online. Refer to the following sites to type out a free resume. DO NOT Pay anyone for such services. It is not needed.
- Do not look for shortcuts. If you are seeking a job, look actively BUT do it yourself across all websites rather than assuming that if you pay a couple of extra bucks, someone god-send will serve you with a ‘premium listing’ on your behalf and you will get a job faster. If you are frequently searching a job online, you gradually tend to pop up on most recruiters’ lists if you match their filtering criteria.
- A lot of companies have their ‘career’ pages listed out on their own websites. Apply directly, rather than waiting for any job site/agent/recruiter calling you and offering you a lucrative job on a platter.
- Note the number calling you – most numbers would be listed online or on call identifier apps if they are known spammers. If it mentions ‘spam’, do not give them a chance.
- Be VERY VERY WARY of anyone pushing for or desperate about any payments, OTP, links to social media profiles, photographs, money transfer via payment apps, QR code scans, credit card information etc. If you still want to take a chance, ask for an email mentioning the purpose and the payment link from a REGISTERED DOMAIN.
For e.g., Naukri.com has only one official website and all its emails and connects will come from firstname.lastname@example.org only. Anything from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or any other domain which is not the exact letters and spelling is a fake site.
- DO NOT make any sample payments from your bank account even if it is Rs. 100 by clicking on a link or following instructions on a phone call. You could be a victim of a phishing attack and a small payment or link click could expose you to hackers who can then access all your details and make payment transfers from your bank accounts.
- No one, we repeat, no one gives you a job without an interview – so do not fall prey to such ‘easy-looking’ ads no matter how desperate you are. Remember, the more desperate you seem, the more vulnerable you are to these predators.
- It is not always the case but anyone calling you from a mobile number and saying they are calling from the job site, is not necessarily genuine. Most companies have a central outgoing line using which their telecallers or business development executives make calls, even during Covid times. So, if it is a mobile number, high chances, intentions are unfair.
- THERE ARE NO REFUNDS. If you have paid the money, forget about it. It is never coming back. The Modus Operandi is designed in such a way to make you keep paying more and more till you get exhausted and give up. Most candidates do that, at best, complain online and request online communities to help them get a refund or justice. There is none returning, so don’t pay for such sites to begin with.
- For whatever reason, if you have paid once – wait till the service promise is delivered and starts showing results. If they request to pay more to see results on the first payment, STOP RIGHT THERE. You have been a victim of a scam already now. Accept the fault at your end and stop attending such calls.
- Understand – once your number is uploaded on any site, you become part of a database that is sold to millions of data seekers – recruitment agencies/fake recruiters/insurance companies/loan providers/credit card sellers/banks/real estate agents – the list is endless. If you feel cheated by one of the entities, do not rush to make payments or click on links from anyone else.
- Do not pay any money to get a job. Your talent speaks for yourself.
- Be wary of jobs that promise high pay for little work. That is a common hint of a job scam.
- Be especially cautious if the caller/interviewer directs you to a link or an online form. These links can sometimes be dubious and make you fall prey to phishing attacks.
- When under stress, rational people can make irrational decisions. If you're in financial trouble, recognize your vulnerability and think twice before getting involved in a dubious employment scheme. The jobs provided by these agencies are too good to be true. Trust your instincts in these situations.
Despite taking a lot of care and being cautious of missteps, a lot of us still become victims of these crimes. In the survey conducted in-house by the Dais Editorial Team, almost 41.7 % of those surveyed had experienced or known someone close to them who had been through some kind of job scam at least once in their life. Also, 50 % of those scammed, didn’t even keep any evidence to back up their claims. It could happen to the smartest of us – so you are not alone.
Reports of fraudulent employment agencies, job counselors, overseas operators, multi-level marketers, and chain mailers have gone up significantly, more so during the rough times of the pandemic. In fact, complaints about fraudulent business opportunities and work-from-home schemes also increased, taking advantage of those looking to make some extra money on the side.
While these seem to be a natural outcome of a fast-growing, developing country – a question begs to be asked. Is this the way business should be allowed to be done in a country that is still a democracy and not a capitalist nation yet?
Why haven’t the authorities who implored the nation to a progressive transformation not unleash powerful laws against such defrauding of their constituents? Why hasn’t the judiciary woken up and taken this pro-bono to save those within its jurisdiction? Do we consider them to be favoured or shall we just assume that they can’t be bothered with what happens to the affected percentage of their population?
Recently, 16 Jan 2022 was declared as the National Startup Day stating startups as the backbone of New India. Ventures started and led by young talent in the country are purported to be the engine that will drive India’s economic growth in the run up to the 100th year of independence.
Unfortunately, the hub of start-ups and opportunities has also become a hub of scams and white collar crimes. And the Government seems to be only caring about the former bit, is that because where the glamour lies?
Millions of students graduate every year in this country while the economy barely manages to catch up on the equivalent number of job opportunities. A mad rush for a small pool of jobs, often brings a desperation to somehow get ahead of the others and be noticed amongst millions for that one placement.
The media bears equal onus. They seem to have given up to such an extent that even their headlines scream boredom “Yet another man falls victim to Job scam”! But they have their defense built right in – why should we bother if the politicians aren’t? There’s no masala in this story for them to chase may be . .
We aren’t done yet... we have just gotten started in fact. The success of the first part of our series and further growing cries for help have empowered us to stay consistently fighting for this cause – for our readers, for the youth of this country and of course for the future of the Nation we are out to build.
You can expect the 3rd part of this series to be questioning these very complacencies – hopefully seeking not just answers but on-point solutions to a long-burning and now-burgeoning issue of a country that prides itself on being the Global Hub Of Innovation.
Until then, we welcome you to come and fill us in with suggestions, feedback, additions and comments here firstname.lastname@example.org