Fake government job ads on Facebook lure desperate South Africans

Nivashni Nair Senior reporter
Desperate job-seekers continue to fall prey to online job scams. Stock photo.
Desperate job-seekers continue to fall prey to online job scams. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/GILC

A Facebook page offering employment within government departments continues to lure unsuspecting South African job-seekers.

Less than six months after Africa Check blew the lid off the fake page called “Government Jobs Application Page”, the group not only continues to post many fake jobs daily but still has a following of more than 189,000 users.

In November, Africa Check reported that the page which shared a number of adverts for jobs in government departments including home affairs, correctional services and the police service was a scam.

“Facebook transparency records show the page was created in August 2015 and was originally called ‘Government Jobs, Learnership, Internships & Bursaries SA’. Its name has changed a number of times over the years.

“Although the page uses SA’s national coat of arms as a profile picture, it includes no links to any of the government’s official social media pages or websites,” Africa Check reported.

The link directed users to a website called “NEWS95.CO.ZA”.

“There is no real way to apply for a job from here. The site is filled with colourful banners and pop-up ads. It is likely the website owner is earning money from this. Read our in-depth investigation into how this works,” Africa Check said.

“These are examples of engagement bait asking users to like, comment and share content on social media. The more people who do this, the further the content spreads.”

Between March and October 2020, reports of fake job listings soared by 70%, according to SAFERjobs, a UK-based organisation that tracks employment fraud. 

Criminals often use fake ads to con unsuspecting and desperate job hunters in SA by charging “administration fees”, “upfront payments to secure employment” or asking for payment for “police clearance” checks.

Insurance company Dialdirect on Tuesday urged South Africans to be vigilant.

“A convincing criminal, combined with a lack of healthy scepticism on the part of the victim, makes this kind of crime a frequent occurrence,” said spokesperson Bianca de Beer.

She said the most important rule when looking for a job was “do your research”.

“Criminals rely on you trusting them too easily, making rash decisions and guaranteeing them a great pay day. Rather be sceptical, take your time, apply the rules and play your part in avoiding nasty surprises during your job hunting.”

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