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Scam alert! South African clothing retailer Ackermans not hiring part-time workers through this dodgy link

IN SHORT: According to these Facebook posts, South African retailer Ackermans is recruiting part-time workers. But the posts are riddled with red flags. Stick to official portals for job applications.

Some posts circulating on Facebook in South Africa claim that Ackermans is hiring part-time employees. Ackermans is a South African retail chain that sells clothes, homeware and mobile phones. 

The posts are headlined: “Ackermans is Hiring Now for 2023/2024 (part-Time).”

They claim that successful applicants will earn R1,500 a week and can “start working immediately”. Requirements listed include “good communication” and “be an unemployed citizen”.

The posts also feature a Bitly link where interested users can supposedly apply. Bitly is a website address shortening service and a link management platform.

Other posts include different links or ask readers to apply via a mobile phone number.

The same message was also posted on a number of public Facebook groups with thousands of members and sent to us by subscribers to our “What’s Crap on WhatsApp?” line. 

So is Ackermans really hiring through the links provided in the posts? We checked.

Ackermans_Scam

Red flags, including antivirus software warning

These posts were similar to those previously exposed by Africa Check as job scams on social media platforms such as Facebook.

We clicked on all the links in the posts and were immediately met with a warning from our antivirus software AVG.

AVGInsert

The warning said that the links had been infected with something called “CardStealer”. This means the websites have previously been reported as malicious, using the scam technique known as phishing.

Phishing occurs when fraudsters trick internet users into revealing personal information, often through web forms or email.

We took the risk – not recommended – and opened the Bitly link. The website looked basic and had a form similar to Google Forms. This, and the fact that it did not link to Ackermans official website, was another sign that it was trying to scam us.

We followed the prompts on the website, answering simple questions such as “are you currently working?”. We were also asked to provide personal information such as identity number, phone number and email address. 

This confirmed the AVG warning that the website was after the user’s personal information. 

Social media users should also be skeptical of posts that offer mobile phone numbers instead of a link. This is a tactic used to get jobseekers to make contact via WhatsApp, potentially putting themselves at risk of being scammed as they may be asked to pay for interviews or to give out personal information.

‘Our ads always link you back to our careers website’

This was not the first time a fake job ad had been created in Ackermans’ name. In a 2020 Facebook post, Ackermans warned the public about a similar job scam.

“We have been alerted to fake job vacancies being advertised on various Facebook groups and urge readers to be cautious,” the post reads.

“While we do advertise vacancies on our Facebook Careers page, LinkedIn and Indeed – our ads always link you back to our careers website and you are never required to pay any fees in order to apply.”

The post urged jobseekers to visit the company’s website or careers page directly if they were unsure of a job advert posted on social media.

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