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How to Avoid Job Scams

As an international student one can be under pressure to stay afloat financially because of the cost of living of where one is located.

As I mused on what to do about my financial situation and the physical toll my part-time job as a dock worker is taking on me, I decided that the best way forward was for me to get a remote job where I can work from the comfort of my room and earn a much higher wage as I believe I have all it takes to do a lot of the remote jobs I have been seeing advertised. So, I focused my search on getting a work-from-home job.

On this fateful day while going through my social media timeline I saw this data entry job posting for international students and people looking for remote jobs. I was elated and I decided to apply, so I contacted the profile that posted the job and I was given a short interview which I passed and quickly moved on to another interview with who was supposed to be my supervisor and given a job code to send to the supervisor’s email.

In a heart’s beat, I sent the email and boy was I excited when I got a reply from the email we got into another round of interviews where I was introduced to the company and I was taken through the company’s products and service offerings.

As the interview progressed, I answered all the questions as best as I could and I was told that I had passed, oh! My, I was so excited and it felt good that once and for all I am going to get the needed reprieve I was looking for from the physical labor of my dock worker job.

Then as the interfacing progressed, we got to the point where I was being asked for personal details and banking details with the view to setting me up to begin work immediately as the company needed work done as soon as possible.

As we proceeded I got asked about my banking limits and then my excitement came down from 100% to like 60% because I felt that no one ought to be asking such private banking information, especially at this stage, well I played along as I didn’t want to pass over this opportunity and then I was sent a cheque to deposit into my Bank account, even though at this time I knew there could be issues but I was willing to see this to a conclusive end but my guards and sixth sense already kicked in (as a Niaja boy wey I be).

So, I deposited the cheque into my banking account which in retrospect I should never have done. The cheque was deposited quite alright and it was put on hold for five (5) business days but an amount was released as I later understood that it is the practice in the Canadian banking system, in Nigeria where I come from you won’t get a dime until your cheque clears.

So, my supposed supervisor asked for a confirmation of check deposit all the while being impatient as to why it was taking me so long to send the confirmation. I told him/her that I was scrubbing off my personal data and after sending the screenshots I was asked to make payment to a particular vendor so I can get materials for the work I was supposed to do.

Then I told him/her that, “hey, the check is on hold and I cannot and will not make any payment until the check has been cleared”. He/she then said that I should pay the amount that wasn’t on hold at least to get so and so from the vendor and I still refused to make any payment and insisted on holding off the payment until the cheque was cleared there and then my supposed supervisor threatened to cancel my job offer and I told him/her to do as they pleased because I won’t make any payment until the check clears. Meanwhile, I have now I realized that it was all a scam to get me to pay money from my account and when the check was returned or flagged, I would have lost the amount I paid out.

Sure enough, my account was frozen by my bank and I was required to appear in person and answer some questions before my account was operational again. I went to my bank and made it clear to them I was actually a victim of a job scam by presenting them with the transcript of the chat that transpired between me and the perpetrator.

I was glad I never paid out any money as I easily would have lost any amount that I paid out and in retrospect I should have put a stop to the conversation once my private banking details were being required.

Lessons Learnt:

1. Never reveal any banking details to a stranger on the internet, in fact, block any individual that asks for your banking details online.

2. Make efforts to verify the genuineness of job posts and profile-making posts on social media. Most fraudulent posts are made with profiles that have little to no history. always check the history of the profiles that make job postings online.

3. Don’t make any check deposits on behalf of anyone. if they have any money to give you, they might as well send it to you through Interac.

4. Don’t be desperate to get any job. I was lucky that I didn’t get carried away with all that was happening and I was able to stand my ground of not paying out any money from my account until the check clears.

N.B., I have gotten real job offers on social media before, so I can say not all contacts on social media a fraudulent. Just be careful out there and keep your guards up (Don’t lose guard). Be safe out there.

Submitted by Stephen Oshilaja

Full Stack App Development, IT Campus

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