Many recruitment agencies advertise jobs on the internet nowadays. However, not all of these agencies are legit. Many of them are scams by illegal recruiters designed to exploit job seekers. Avoid getting scammed by learning how to spot the difference between a real and a fake agency.

Recruitment scammers create several email addresses and use them as a contact for fake jobs to lure in desperate job seekers. For example, when replying to a recruiter's email address, you will receive 5 further emails from fake recruiters requiring you to fax your documents and certificates. Illegal recruiters are then able to make money through the faxing of these documents by billing the call (fax) at higher rates.

You should be aware that most recruiters today do not use fax machines anymore. Most require you to fill in an online application or send your documents via email. So if you are asked to fax anything, then it’s probably a scam, however, a few are legitimate. To be sure, always insist on emailing rather than faxing.

Some illegal recruiters go as far as creating a Facebook page or website where vacancies are posted. The illegal recruiters are not actually filling these positions, they merely want you to visit their website thinking that they are. This is called ‘clickbait’, (clickbait is web content aimed at catching your attention but doesn’t deliver on what it says). The owner of the website makes money from your visits.

As a job seeker, it is essential to avoid getting scammed by doing the following:

  • Avoid emails without the recruiter's company name. Legitimate recruiters have a domain name as part of the email address, for example, info@thecompanysname.co.za. Illegal recruiters often have email addresses ending with gmail.com or yahoo.com

  • Where the email address contains the domain name, it is still essential to do a verification by visiting its website to check if it exists

  • Do a background check on the recruitment agency - You should always verify your source of information. This means checking the telephone/contact number on the advert. You can call the number to find out more information

  • You can also go as far as checking the registration of the agency with the Department of Labour. All recruitment agencies are required to be registered with the Department of Labour as a Private Employment Agency (PEA)

  • Make sure that the recruiter has more than one means of communication - A recruiter should have more than one means of communication e.g. an email, telephone and website. If it only uses fax as a form of communication, you should avoid it!

  • Do not pay a recruiter to get employed - As a jobseeker, you should not pay a recruiter for an interview or for placing you. Legitimate agencies are usually paid by companies to recruit staff for them, so they should not ask you for money.

Remember, when an offer seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Always be wary of scam and know how to spot them. If you would like to know more about illegal recruiter click here.