It is an unfortunate fact of life that in any community, in any industry, there are individuals on the periphery looking for ways to make a quick dollar with minimal effort.
During the boom in the mining industry there were people who took advantage of people wanting a start and, more recently, there are reports of a website targeting experienced personnel who have lost their jobs and are looking for work.
Many of these websites offer a guaranteed start in the mining industry and some charge up to $900 for the information. These pages look legitimate because they feature “real-life” stories and case studies. Having contacted one of these sites last year, I can say they will email you every two-to-three days for payment for about two weeks, then give up.
A review of the Australian Government’s Scamwatch website statistics shows that phone and internet remain the most common method for scammers to reach you.
In 2016, $83.5 million was lost in Australia through scams. Of this, $1.1 million was lost to employment and jobs scams.
The Scamwatch website lists several ways to prevent jobseekers from being scammed.
Here’s their advice. Not all of it is pertinent to the mining industry, but it’s still worth knowing:
-Be suspicious of unsolicited ‘work from home’ opportunities or job offers, particularly those that offer a ‘guaranteed income’ or require you to pay an upfront fee.
-If the job involves making or selling a certain type of product or service, find out if there is really a market for it.
-Ask for references from other people who have done the work or used the product, and make the effort to speak to these people.
-Do not deal with an employer or company that does not have a street address, they can be difficult to contact or trace later on
-Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
Never agree to transfer money for someone else – this is money laundering and it is illegal.
If you’re registering with a recruitment company, check to see if they are a member of the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association. Most recruitment companies in Australia and New Zealand are members of the RCSA and members must abide by a professional code of conduct.
Do a Google search for the company or organisation, or see if they have a Facebook or LinkedIn page to determine if it is a legitimate company. A Google Earth search for an address may not always work as many companies are solely based online, but a quick internet search that takes a few minutes may save you several hundred dollars.
Never pay anyone to send you information about how to get a job or a list of companies or opportunities. Definitely never pay for tickets, medicals or any other ‘pre-employment’ requirements.
One of the more common scams in recent years has involved people receiving actual employment contracts following brief ‘interviews’ but before a start date can be confirmed there is suddenly a “pre-payment” required for a visa application to be processed. The “company” promises to reimburse “employees” this money in the first pay.
A study by the Financial Fraud Research Centre at Stanford University’s Centre on Longevity found that fraud comes in all shapes and sizes — as do its victims.
Generally, scammers target a person’s vulnerabilities — and all of us are vulnerable sometimes. Think about times when you are tired, rushing out the door, worried about something or you’re simply unwell. We can all be caught off guard, or at times we can unknowingly give away information on social media or during a phone call from a supposedly legitimate organisation.
A simple call from someone purporting to be your telecommunications company stating your internet or phone service is about to be cut off, for example, can be enough for some people to give away personal information that scammers can use.
More recently in Australia there have been callers claiming to be from the Tax Office quoting exact figures people owe, or are to be fined, and leaving a message to call back as soon as possible to avoid jail. Some of these scammers used police titles in their attempts to scare people into calling back.
Finally, check out this list on ways to protect yourself from scams. There is a lot of information online, and on some sites you can even subscribe for the latest alerts to ensure you and your family are informed.