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Job Scams: 3 tips to help jobseekers avoid being scammed

Achieve Group recruitment consultants in Singapore advise the public on how to avoid job scams

Job scams are on the rise and often entail fake job ads for jobs that do not exist. Between January and June 2021, victims of job scams lost about S$6.5million, up from about $60,000 in the same period the year before.

In Singapore, job ads are typically placed by hiring companies and  employment agencies, with the majority placed by direct employers. If you have just received a job offer over the phone or via email, how can you be sure that it is from a licensed recruitment consultant or a legitimate company? Here are 3 ways to protect yourself.

Tip #1 Verify the Identity of the Caller

Upon receiving a call or email from anyone claiming to be from an employment agency, go to www.mom.gov.sg/eadirectory to verify that the person is listed on the Employment agencies and personnel search (EA directory).

In Singapore, all employment agency (EA) personnel performing EA work must be registered with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and can only be registered to one employment agency at any point. 

If still doubtful of the identity of the caller, request for a video call and ask to sight the recruiter together with his/her EA PERSONNEL card. Under MOM regulations, all EA personnel are required to show their registration card to clients and allow clients to take down any information on the card. This card should include the full name, registration number, EA licence number and photo of the EA personnel, together with the name of the recruitment agency.  

Tip #2 Do Not Provide NRIC number

In a large number of job applications, NRIC numbers are not required to be submitted. Under Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act, companies can only ask for your NRIC number if it is required by the law or if necessary to prove your identity, such as when you join an organisation as a new employee. 

If a company needs to check your identity in job applications, offer only partial NRIC number, eg. XXXXX567A or simply show your NRIC for sighting purposes. Do not allow copies of your NRIC to be made.

However, there are special circumstances where your full NRIC number will  be required for security clearance purposes, such as in job applications involving national security. In such instances, keep a close watch over how your NRIC is handled and take it back as soon as you can.

As a precautionary measure, always practise these 2 above-mentioned tips when presented with any job offer. On top of this, be extra vigilant when considering the rising number of ‘jobs’ from seemingly direct employers.

In many of these cases, scammers have stepped up the game by presenting themselves as legitimate companies, with ‘corporate’ websites and ‘company’ contact numbers. Some have gone even further and have invited victims into work team chatgroups that share tips, work advice and personal stories in a bid to convince victims that they are from bona fide companies. 

To guard against such scammers, always take time to run thorough checks.    

Tip #3 Check on the Company

Find out the company’s Unique Entity Number (UEN) at www.uen.gov.sg . All businesses, companies and organisations registered in Singapore are issued with a UEN, which is a 9 or 10 digit identification number. A company that possesses a UEN is one of the best signs that you are dealing with an authentic company.

Along with that, check the company’s website and look for a company contact number that you can call and is answered by a genuine person. Always make sure the job offered is on the company website and on popular job portals.

Information about the job is a big tell-tale sign whether it is a genuine job offer. If the information provided is not clear or too scanty or the ‘company representative’  is not able to explain the job adequately or the job cannot be found online, insist for more details.

Before committing to any job, offer to meet the company’s HR personnel face-to-face and do not provide personal information prematurely. As many interactions are now conducted online, it pays to meet up with the HR personnel at the company’s office to be certain of the authenticity of the job. 

If still not satisfied after having completed all the above, do not proceed. It is better to let a doubtful opportunity go, then find out later that you have been taken advantage of. 

What is A Job Scam?

Job scams come in many forms. To date, the Singapore Police Force has issued alerts on job scams involving:

  • Fake job offers requiring victims to complete easy tasks for commissions which are too good to be true.
  • Affiliate marketing where victims are given a commission to boost social media posts by liking the posts.
  • Unsolicited messages with job offers from unknown numbers or unknown foreign numbers.
  • Use of personal bank accounts to transfer funds to bank accounts of individuals that victims had not met in return for a commission.
  • Recruitment of assistances to obtain personal details like names, NRIC numbers, phone numbers.

For more information on job scams go to https://www.scamalert.sg/scam-details/job-scam