Fraudsters in Kenya have perfected their art of conning job applicants and more and more job seekers are falling victims to their tricks each and everyday.
The tales of young Kenyans who have fallen victims of these fraudsters are horrible but what is shocking is the extent to which the fraudsters go to loot from vulnerable and innocent job seeking Kenyans.
But why is this trend on the rise? Statistically more than a third of Kenyan youths who are eligible for work have no jobs.
According to the 2019 census report, the number of Kenyans seeking jobs increased by 18.2% to hit 2.6 million Kenyans. That number has since more than doubled after Covid-19 hit and saw many Kenyans lose their jobs.
The data indicates that majority of unemployed people are between the age 23-35 followed by those in 35-64 age bracket.
Only 22.3 Million Kenyans are economically engaged with 19.7 million representing the working population.
The sad reality is that those who are already in the job market are up and down hunting for better jobs as their current jobs are not fulfilling their needs with some citing hostile working environment.
As graduates come out of our higher learning institution each year, they join the already ballooned job seekers list presenting a crisis and a desperate situation.
Tricks used by con-men to steal from job seek
With job opportunities in Kenya not forthcoming as expected, this gives fraudsters a humble opportunity to steal from the vulnerable job seekers.
One such case is what my close friend went through while trying to secure a job opportunity he had applied for.
Having seen an advert from one of the government institution, my friend send his application. He was seeking for a job opportunity in the accounts department.
Two months down the line, he received a call on an early Monday morning informing him that he was among the few whose application had been shortlisted for interview.
The lady who called her on a landline number introduced herself as Grace and that she was working in the HR department.
She seemed to know some details about my friend and later directed him to his colleague for further instructions.
Upon calling the number he was given, my friend was informed that the interview was due in 2 days to come. He was asked to submit his application documents again via a personal email. To this point my friend had no reason to suspect that he was dealing with fraudsters and not HR officials.
The guy on the call went on to list all the documents my friend was to enclose in his email. Among the documents needed were, Police Clearance Certificate, EACC Clearance Forms, CRB Clearance Certificate, HELB Clearance Certificate among other crucial documents.
From the list my friend did not have the required certificated apart from the academic certificates he had submitted earlier and therefore it was going lower his chances of securing the job.
My friend was promised that he had high chances of landing the job but only if he could quickly submit the documents. However, he was told if he didn’t have the documents they could swiftly process them for him at a fee.
A simple calculation by the so called HR officer required that he send Ksh. 7,500 for the processing of the documents.
Surprised by the figure, my friend inquired on the mode of payment and he was issued with a till number through which he was to channel the payment.
Considering a majority of crucial government documents are usually applied through government online platforms where one has to create an account, my friend was wondering how someone would have done it on his behalf. One such crucial document is police clearance certificate that requires ones fingerprints to be taken.
Everything was not adding up. It then hit him that he had presented his application in the first place but here he was being asked to present them again.
When he inquired why he was to present his application papers again and why he was being asked for money, the guy turned hostile and hanged up the phone. They had just realized that my friend was not buying their narrative.
This and many other unreported cases have seen a majority of Kenyan job seekers lose huge sums of money in the name of seeking for an employment opportunity.
While some are promised jobs that do not exist in the first place, many have lost lots of money to con artists who pose as influential individuals in the hiring process.
The biggest dilemma is how these fraudsters get to know the applicant’s details especially when the position is in a public service office. This is one clear indication that fraudsters have taken their con game to a whole new level.