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No, these Mr Price and Sportscene job application forms aren’t real – they’re just another scam

IN SHORT: The job ads link to Google forms that ask for personal information, and not to the official Mr Price and Sportscene career pages. Find out more about how you can protect yourself against job scams.

Several posts on Facebook advertising jobs at retailer Mr Price and sportswear brand Sportscene have been widely shared, sometimes with images that include company logos.

One of the oldest of these posts is from August 2022.

But the posts have been reported as potentially false by Facebook users, and set off several red flags. When Africa Check looked into them, it turned out that they weren’t associated with the brands at all.

So how do we know these job ads are fake?

Always check the URL

Mr Price job scam

The posts have one thing in common: they share two (very similar) web addresses through which people can supposedly apply for jobs: mrpricejobs.com and sportscenejobs.com.

A uniform resource locator or URL, tells a web browser how to find a web page. It may be long (for example https://africacheck.org/fact-checks/guides), but the most important part is typically the website’s domain name (ours is africacheck.org). This name must be unique and registered to a specific person or organisation.

Both of the “jobs” URLs redirect to Google forms, which ask visitors for personal information such as their phone number and email address. These forms are framed as though they are job applications even though they don’t ask for information such as an applicant’s skills or employment history.

Mr Price and Sportscene actually follow very different hiring practices. The best way to confirm that a job opportunity is real, is to see whether it has been shared on the company’s official website or social media accounts. What do we find when we do this?

To begin, we won’t find “mrpricejobs.com” or “sportscenejobs.com”.

Mr Price’s website is mrp.com, while Sportscene’s is sportscene.co.za. These websites link to official career pages, which are found at mrpcareers.com and tfglimited.co.za/careers. TFG Limited is a group that owns 33 retail brands including Sportscene, and does not have separate career sites for each brand.

These sites allow readers to see exactly what jobs are available, as well as the requirements to apply for each of them.

This should already be a reason to dismiss the job adverts as fakes. They share links to websites that are not the official career pages of the companies they offer jobs at. But there’s more proof that these pages aren’t to be trusted.

Scam websites connected to each other, but not to Mr Price or Sportscene

The pages also ask job applicants to email their CVs to email addresses hosted by the same domains. They end with “@mrpricejobs.com” and “@sportscenejobs.com”. It might seem obvious already, but these domains are not owned by or associated with the brands they claim to be.

This is clear from the domain registration information, which can be found using a whois service like DNSLytics. This shows the “mail exchange” records (which tell an email service where to send an email) for mrpricejobs.com are provided by a different company than the one which provides records for Mr Price’s official websites.

Mr Price’s websites are registered to “Mr Price Group Ltd” in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. In contrast, mrpricejobs.com has had all registration information redacted, and its address replaced by the Icelandic address of the privacy service Withheld for Privacy.

While using different companies or practices to register different domains is not proof that two domains were registered by different companies, this is another clue that the sites are not connected.

On the other hand, mrpricejobs.com and sportscene.com are connected. They were both registered with the provider Namecheap, suggesting that one person or group is behind both fake job adverts.

Mr Price a common pick for scammers offering fake jobs

This is not the first time Africa Check has caught scammers impersonating Mr Price. Unfortunately, this is a common scam tactic.

You can learn how these scams typically work and how to spot them by reading Africa Check’s guide to Facebook scams and how to spot them. And read the in-depth analysis of Facebook job scams that we wrote with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab in 2020.

 

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Further Reading

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