Beware of Employment Traps

Employment Traps

Swindlers take advantage of job seekers' eagerness to find jobs and defraud them of money or other benefits. As employment traps emerge in different forms, job seekers should always stay alert and be cautious to avoid falling into these traps and suffering any losses.

The video at shows you some common job scams and tips to avoid falling into these traps.

The followings are some of the common employment traps. Job seekers should be alert, seek advice and assistance when necessary.

Trap 1: Pyramid Selling Schemes

Some marketing or direct sales companies attract job seekers by advertising handsome pay posts, and persistently persuade the job seekers during job interviews to buy their goods to join the sales business. Job seekers may be persuaded to get an overdraft or to borrow money from financial institutions. Some may eventually go into bankruptcy if they fail to repay the loan and interest. If you find that the job involves hierarchical sharing of commission (i.e. pyramid selling) and the prices of the goods are higher than the market prices; or are asked to pay a large sum of money to join the scheme; and to make profit through recruiting scheme members (including relatives, friends and schoolmates) as your lower-tiered staff rather than selling products, you should decline the job offer.

Trap 2: Vice Traps

Some entertainment establishments may secretly engage in vice activities. Very often these operators would make use of high-paying jobs to attract job seekers. Innocent job seekers will learn the real job nature or working conditions only after signing the contracts. You should be alert and avoid being lured to engage in such activities.

Trap 3: Talent Scout Scams

Some people pose themselves as representatives from modelling agencies or dubbing companies. They may approach internet surfers or passers-by, and convince them that they have great potential to be models in commercials, singers, movie stars or fitting models, thereby inducing them to pay fees for training classes, beauty services or fitness courses; or even audition, recommendation fee or deposits. However, no job may be arranged and the money paid will not be refunded. Some job seekers may even fall into vice traps.

Trap 4: Financial and Investment Scams

Some swindlers pose themselves as operators of foreign exchange investment or marketing companies and offer a handsome pay to enlist job seekers for the posts of clerk, copyist and cleaning staff, etc. After joining the company, job seekers will be persistently encouraged to make investment or to take up investment posts in order to entice them to pour in their own or their relatives' and friends' money. In the end, swindlers rip off their money by claiming that there is a loss in investments.

Trap 5: Theft of Personal Data

Under the pretext of recruitment, the culprits solicit important personal data from job seekers, such as information on identity card, bank accounts and credit cards. The personal data obtained will be used for application for loan from banks or financial institutions in the name of the job seekers, who eventually have to bear the responsibility of repaying the loan, or fall into bankruptcy.

Trap 6: Unlawful Work

Some criminal gangs manipulate young people to commit unlawful deeds, such as drug trafficking, selling pirated or counterfeit goods, parallel-imported goods, illegal fund raising, debt collection for loan sharks, and money laundering through offering bank account data so that they may get off the hook when the crime is detected by the police. You should refuse to commit illegal deeds to avoid getting into trouble which may ruin your future.

Trap 7: Charging Unreasonable Fees

Some swindlers make up various reasons under the pretext of recruitment to impose unreasonable fees and charges on job seekers, such as registration fee, data processing fee, administration fee and documentation fee, etc. Think twice and discuss with your friends and family members if you are asked to pay fees of any kind to get a job.

Trap 8: Luring Job Seekers to Pursue Further Studies

If you are asked in job interviews to pay fees for training classes or any courses in order to be eligible for the post, you should be alert as this may probably be a bogus recruitment to cheat job seekers' money.

Trap 9: Fraud Online Recruitment

As online recruitment has become more popular, some scammers post deceptive recruitment messages through discussion forums, social media or smart phone apps to prey upon job seekers. Job seekers are then cheated of property or personal data when chatting on-line. Their personal data could be used to transfer money from their bank accounts or in other crimes. There are also cases that job seekers are promised to be paid for buying Game Cards at convenience stores. Upon receipt of the serial number and PIN number of the Game Card from the job seekers, the scammers would sell the Game Cards for money and disappear into thin air.

Detecting Employment Traps

There are various employment traps. You can avoid falling into the snares of criminals if you are cautious and prudent.

Below are some methods to detect employment traps:

  • Be realistic and sensible

    Be pragmatic when you search for jobs. Don’t believe in job advertisements requiring barely any experience or qualifications but offering a good sum of money. Check if the salary offered and the job requirements are realistic and commensurate with the market level. You should have general knowledge of the company background, scope of duties and the trade or industry concerned before applying for a job.

  • Be alert when attending interviews

    Mind your personal safety when going for an interview. Avoid going to remote areas alone. Heighten your vigilance if the interview is conducted too hastily or you are offered a job right away without any interview.

  • Don't make payments or produce important documents readily

    Normally, employees are not required to pay fees when they take up a job. Ask for the reasons if you are required to pay fees. In case any company staff or foremen solicit referral fees from you in exchange for a job offer, you should boldly refuse and report to the ICAC immediately. Offering or accepting a bribe are both offences in law. Anyone who pays bribes to get a job will be liable for offences under the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance. On the other hand, you should not readily produce personal particulars such as your identity card, bank cards and cheques.

  • Examine the contract terms and additional conditions carefully

    Before you sign a contract, read all the terms carefully, including those stipulated in the staff handbooks. Don't sign contracts immediately if there are terms that are not clear or unfavourable to you. You should request taking away the contract for study before signing. Companies generally allow prospective candidates to take away the contracts for consideration before signing contracts at a later time.

  • Don't sign documents readily

    Don't sign any agreement or authorisation such as bank authorisation if you are in doubt in order to avoid loss.

  • Check whether the scope of duties matches the descriptions in the advertisement or interview

    If you are offered a job, check whether your duties are consistent with the descriptions set out in the job advertisement or discussed during interviews. Moreover, be alert if the employer persuades you to transfer to other posts relating to investment or sales. Refuse unreasonable demands and never take up illegal duties. If you perform any duties against the law, you may commit a crime that will ruin your life.

  • Seek assistance

    Keep abreast of current affairs and beware of the tricks of swindlers. Acquaint yourself with the rights and benefits of an employee. If you have any doubts, consult your family members or friends. Seek advice or assistance from related government departments/organisations when necessary.