The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) has published a new report looking at some of the ways criminals are abusing the financial system.
According to the report, criminals are increasingly targeting South African internet users with promises of lucrative career opportunities or job listings abroad.
The FIC said that these career listings usually target young people with higher-level qualifications.
“At first glance these online postings appear to be completely legitimate. The perpetrators prey on unsuspecting job seekers desperate to find better employment opportunities abroad,” the FIC said.
“Internet-based criminals use a fabricated career or job listing as a ruse to attract employment seekers and obtain their personal information.”
Such information includes identity numbers, credit card information, bank account information and the curriculum vitae of the victim, the FIC said.
“Once a prospective victim has made contact via the fake online job listing, criminals notify them that a position abroad has become available.
“They then conduct a telephonic, Skype or instant message job interview. These interviews contribute to the illusion that the job offering is real. Applicants receive notices that their qualifications have been accepted and that their interview has been successful.
“The victims are responsible for the cost of the supposed required background checks and credit score ratings after the interview. Victims are also responsible for their own travel costs and visa applications to the relevant foreign jurisdictions.”
What to look out for
The FIC said it was difficult to distinguish between fraudulent and legitimate employment offerings.
“If victims believe that they have encountered a website designed to look like a legitimate website to steal personal information, they can report the matter to the Internet Service Providers Association in South Africa,” it said.
It added that potential job-seekers must conduct thorough research on the company or organisation in the country they wish to work, and that making contact with the resident diplomatic mission of the country in South Africa would be a good way to verify the procedures and conditions of employment in the host country.
“Keep in mind that foreign countries have strict policies when hiring foreigners,” it said.
Work seekers, the FIC said, must familiarise themsleves with the average salary, working hours and visa requirements.
“Search for websites, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of the prospective employer. Be aware that criminals will use a posting or advertisement, using the name of a reputable and well known company or organisation.
“Avoid sending money to recruiters before arriving in the foreign country for work. Be wary of requests for cash payments via international money remittance service providers in exchange for securing an offer of employment,” the intelligence centre said.