Spotting Job Scams

It is taking ever longer to produce the Jobs Abroad Bulletin because we have to keep stopping to check out whether particular advertisers are genuine or low down dirty scammers. Distance and the internet leave those job searching abroad open to abuse. Recently nanny jobs have been the main culprit.

We have become quite experienced in catching these people out but we are certainly not infallible and some of the other sites that you may use to look for jobs abroad often do not have a human intermediary to weed out bad ads. Craigslist for example, an otherwise excellent and useful website, often carries advertisements that we have rejected. So what is it that should start the alarm bells ringing in our heads?

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Poor grammar and spelling by those that should know better:
Do the words used match the claims made? Though genuine advertisers do sometimes write irritatingly bad copy, full of spelling mistakes (hardly anyone can spell accommodation), this is often just the result of writing in a foreign language, being in a rush or just simple laziness in expecting me to spend the time touching up their poorly written advert.

I do not claim to be the greatest writer – despite passing my English language ‘O’ level with flying colours and doing well at English Lit ‘A’ level (and writing for a living) I couldn’t tell you with great accuracy what a noun or an adverb are, confuse ‘are’ and ‘is’ and can get in a dreadful mess with belonging words.

However I do expect teachers, bank managers and other professionals to write reasonably well in their native language. For example some of the mistakes in the following text can be put down as genuine but those that I’ve highlighted in bold italics are generally to do with tense and do not add up for an educated person:

“We are the Murphy’s family from North london Borough,My Wife work as a Bank Manager,I’m a retired military Personnel but presently running my own company,I work on mechanical production and repairs.We are out going,approachable and need someone to be a big sister to our little darlings.I will be very interested leaving my children to a good Caregiver for infants and am very interested in leaving our children in your care.We have two children the eldest is 5 she has mild Autistic traits but she is a fun loving Energetic child, and loves Arty things.She attends a Mainstream School a mile up the road from where we live.Our son is 4 he is noisy,lively loves playing games and in general is a typical boy!! He attends Nursery every day from 9 – 11:30 which is situated next to the school where we lived.We are urgently seeking for a Caregiver and i will like to put my children in your care.My children are just lovers of computer games,not allergic and free to people espec ially to strangers.I’m willing to pay 450 pounds weekly,I would like to know if you would be care giver of my children,Kindly reply me via my private email below if you are sure to care for them from Monday – Friday.”

Over politeness and religious terminology:
I can’t speak a word of Nigerian but it must be a very polite language because “blessed” is commonly used. Who, other than a vicar, says that in Britain. Read some of the spam emails from the relatives of dead African dictators that undoubtedly reach your inbox to study the language use of scammers.

No such place:
The Murphy’s (sic) family say they are from North london Borough, rather than “a” north London borough.

Capital letters:
ARE VERY ANNOYING BUT CAN BE A HANDY CLUE.

High wages:
Too good to be true? Then perhaps it is. If the wage seems high for the position ask yourself why they can’t fill the job locally. Most of the jobs on our website are low paid – we consider ourselves a travel website and working for a living as a means to this end.

Yahoo Email address:
Though in common use by individuals and small businesses advertising in JAB, would a big hotel or multi national company use a yahoo, hotmail, gmail or other such free email address?

A 70 phone number:
Numbers beginning +4470xx are redirected to a foreign country and can be obtained on the internet. More information on UK diverted numbers here

Too many positions offered:
There’s supposed to be a credit crunch. Can they really need so many different staff at one time? Or are they just casting a wide net?

Same name, same ad, different location:
The made up Murphys were found out because a Google search showed they were advertising the same job but this time pretending to be Canadian.

THE GOLDEN RULE

Never send money to someone offering a job. Au pair and nanny agencies (not individuals) are legally able to charge a small fee but these days hardly any do. Reputable student work placement organisations, like BUNAC, and gap year companies do charge, sometimes hefty, fees. If you have never heard of a gap year organisation in which you are interested check them out – the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree is a good place to ask questions. The jobs posted to this site are sent to us from all around the world and every country will have different employment laws but generally if anyone asks for cash to find you a job then there is a good chance it is a scam.

USE GOOGLE

If a job offer looks suspicious run the organisation or person (or both) through Google. If nothing comes up try the same but add the word “scam” to the search. Another option is to search the email address and see if and where it has been used before. Again, try adding “scam” to the search.

OTHER USEFUL RESOURCES

Fraudwatchers – www.fraudwatchers.org
Scam-O-matic – www.scamomatic.com
Close Up: Spotting a Scam – tvnz.co.nz/view/video_popup_windows_skin/1020516