High unemployment levels in Africa has made millions of youths desperate for jobs to use all means possible to get a job. However, due to corruption, weak economic growth, only a small percentage get employed. That has let to highly sophisticated money launderers to use employment opportunities and fake websites to lure unsuspecting job seekers into becoming money vending machines and mules.How on earth someone can’t understand that when a genuine employer doesn’t ask for money, still defeats common sense. Money launderers are posting fake ad online. While waiting for “job” to start, applicants are asked to transfer money to a woman in Nigeria. In another case, an applicant was asked to send money to a Kenyan man, while a Zambian job applicant was asked to pay $300 processing fees to a South African woman. In the Zambian lady case, bank warned her the money was stolen and although she reported the scam, the authorities haven’t done anything. When she contacted me recently from Lusaka, Zambia and shared with me what and how it happened, it was clear that criminals offered her fake job in South Africa on the website, and tricked her into handing over her personal bank account details. At her tender age of 24, it was worth understanding and forgiving her.The websites are created in thousands every month as job search portal and have about 2,000,000 registered users in total.
In African countries, victims of the money laundering scams receive cash in their bank accounts after applying for the fake jobs, and are told to transfer the money to strangers overseas.I also know of a case where a Kampala based lady was recruited in 2015 for a money laundering operation after applying for an administration job on a Turkish website. She knew that it was a criminal thing that she did but at the beginning believed she was applying for a job with a Turkish fashion company.She and her colleague were even paid for tickets to Turkey and upon reaching there they were told they would be working from home. But a month after being offered the job, she still had not been given any work to do in Istanbul.One afternoon, she received an email from her “company manager” telling her that $10,000 had been deposited in her bank account bank in Uganda.”She said, ‘I will give you all the instructions, what you need to do’,” she narrated to me last year. “And then she reminded me again that because we are dealing with the highly competitive fashion industry, you do not need to tell anyone what you are doing.” The lady was told to travel back to Uganda to withdraw the cash and send it to a woman in Kigali, Rwanda.
She told your blogger last year that the bank put a block on her account after she tried to send a portion of the money by electronic transfer services. “They said, ‘we understand what you’re doing, but we just want to let you know the money you have received into your account is stolen money’,” she said. The lady who is fluent in six languages including Kinyarwanda contacted the sender but with no success. Since she knows your blogger in person, her next move was to seek my opinion and although I didn’t meet her, I offered her the best advise available. The 26 years old lady case is just one of the many cases that has seen an increase in fraudulent job advertisements in Africa. Additional protective measures need to be implemented in response to the increase, including stronger messaging on the site cautioning users to check or research employers before applying for jobs.Most African countries that fight such online crimes rely on automated system to check whether job ads were genuine and that takes time and resources aren’t adequate. In the end, it also does manual audits of small number of job ads yet there are millions of them being posted monthly.In the past, I have spoken to several victims of money laundering scam, and I have seen evidence of job seekers sending their resumes to the scammers like those that targeted the Uganda lady. No one can end supply of this online job scams and only way is to create awareness among the population on the need to be careful with job ads online.