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How scammers in Naguru obtained UGX1.2b in fake job advert

The increasing number of job scams.

The increasing number of job scams.

The increasing number of job scams.

By Dr. Ssekyanzi Bob

Let me start off with a disclaimer! I am neither a recruiter nor HR Consultant.

About a month ago, there was a story in the newspapers about a recruitment company that had ‘eaten’ job applicants’ money. Unfortunately, two of my friends were victims of the scam which was so organised that it would take an expert to smell a scam.

It started off with a professional well edited job advert that was designed in a format similar to that of job adverts in New Vision, only that this didn’t run in the daily.
It was quickly shared in all WhatsApp groups.

The job advert claimed an urgent need of 38 entry level data entrants, 64 field assistants, 8 drivers, 6 cleaners and 18 security guards, it ended with the usual annotation of “send your CV, copy of academic documents to [email protected]”. They set the deadline for handing in applications to 7 days later, most probably not wanting to give the victims time to do their due diligence.

A week later, they shortlisted about 700 candidates for interviews and told them to send copies of their national IDs plus paying a non-refundable registration fee of 200,000/= meant for securing each an “in-service code” (whatever that means). True to their word, they sent each a code which was a combination of arbitrary numbers which was supposed to be presented on the day of the interview.

A week before interview date, each was called by a 039XXXXXXX number and by someone who clained to be an “insider” of the company and gave them a deal. If each was to send the “insider” 1.25M, he would place them on the friendly interview boards with a guarantee to secure the job. He went further and told them the starting net salary of each position; data entrant-2.8M, field assistants-3.8M, drivers-1.3M, cleaners-700K. He made sure the financials made sense, bribe with 1.25M and earn 2.8M a month later. Many fell victim and gave in the ‘kitu kidogo’.

The group had hired a residential house in Naguru, furnished it as an office with a board room plus receptionists to make it look like a legit organization.
They conducted the interviews in Naguru and proceeded to offer appointment letters to 200 successful individuals. Appointment letters were on premium headed papers with a stamp and a seal with eye-watering salaries plus allowances. They were scheduled for training which was to be paid for a fee of 250K which would cater for training material, uniforms, ID and letter of good standing from Interpol.
Looking at the salaries, everyone with an appointment letter paid the training fee, who wouldn’t?.

The same ‘insider’ who offered them friendly interview boards proposed to them a deal of 300K for any one to be placed in a district of their choice for those who didn’t want to wait for the randomization.

Fast forward, 2 weeks later on the scheduled day of training,they all made their way to Naguru at the ‘head office’ only to find an empty house with a neat “HOUSE FOR RENT” placard. When they tried calling the number on the placard, the land lord shocked them that the occupants had vacated the house 3 days prior. The police estimates the total amount obtained from the victims was upwards of 1.2 billion shillings

The most recent story is a well orchestrated heist in which more than 50 health workers were conned of $1,620 each with prospects of working as emergency COVID19 medical workers in one of the affluent international NGOs.
Definately, I did my quick maths and it hit me that the con artist had walked away with $81,000 the equivalent of 300M UGX

Well, the moral of the story is that before you share that juicy job advert in your professional, family, alumni groups, do a little background check because there are desperate jobless people out there who are looking for any ray of hope to land them a job.

For whatever reason, there is a tendency of people applying for jobs in secret without seeking counsel or opinions from their friends or family. Most probably, they want to surprise their kin when they land that good job.
If its too good to be true, most probably it is not true.

Happy new month to you all!

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