It’s a sad fact; in most European countries currently work is in short supply. The unemployment figures fluctuate but the trend is still down and we are seeing generally a better-qualified workforce earning less, if they’re earning at all. Some employers are exploiting the situation with zero-hour contracts, internships or through employing migrants at low wages.
Promises of employment
But another form of exploitation is also taking place. In Spain there has recently been concern that those searching for work are parting with money on the promise of dubious employment opportunities in foreign countries.
These offers of fictitious employment are becoming such a problem that the Spanish Government has published some advice on its Department of Employment website.
The problem seems to be mostly in the construction and hostelry industries where well-known and respected names such as ‘Hilton’ are being used to lure prospective employees to part with their cash. The target for these scams is identified through their registration in web pages seeking work.
These fraudulent offers often include false applications for visas for which the potential employee must pay a lawyer. In other cases these fictitious firms are asking for money up front in order to secure living accommodation for the potential employee.
After sending the money, the victim hears nothing more. On making further enquiries they discover that the address and contact numbers of the ‘business’ do not correspond to the real firm they thought they were applying to.
The Spanish government is suggesting that those who think they might have an offer of employment should remember that if the offer comes from the USA they must have a visa and that this will not be granted if there are US citizens who have the skills to do the work. Obtaining a visa to live in the USA is no easy matter.
How to spot the scam
The Spanish government reminds us that firms with genuine vacancies usually advertise on their webpages under a section on careers or employment. You will only be contracted if you have sent a CV and covering letter directly to the Human Resources section of the business.
You should compare the contact details of the employer published on their website with those sent to you. If the offer is fraudulent, they will not be the same. If you haven’t sent your CV to the firm but have posted it on a page looking for employment on the internet then the chances are that the offer is false.
In particular you should check the email address of the contact you have. If it is from a free account such as hotmail.com, gmail.com or yahoo.com then it is likely to be fraudulent.
Check that the telephone number code corresponds to that of the geographical area in which the business is situated. You can check the area code on the internet.
Other false offers on the internet
It’s not only offers of working abroad that are catching desperate people out in the search for work. There are other internet scams that those seeking employment in Spain should watch out for.
10 most common ‘false’ offers of employment on the internet:
Telephone number beginning with 805, 806 or 905 that requires you to call for 30 minutes or more at a charge of 1 euro per minute
Being required to send an SMS in order to receive information
Work at home or telesales – you first have to send some money in order to receive documentation or material; never send money in anticipation
Buying products from a business that you must then send on and which offer you commission in order to entice other workers into the same business
Casting for models – creating videos to place on websites – you will be asked to pay first
Construction work where you must pay money up front in order to take up employment in another country at a very good wage
Fruit pickers – you have to call a number with a special tariff in order to pick oranges or another type of fruit
Paying a tax up front in order to work in another country
Training courses where it is assured that you will have a guaranteed offer of employment once you have completed it – guess what, you have to pay first!
Bank transfers – where you then have to transfer money on – you could be assisting money laundering
If you have suffered from any of these crimes then the advice is contact the customer services of the page where the offer was published and/ or denounce the crime to the Guardia Civil.
It’s a frequently used phrase but if it sounds ‘too good to be true’ then it is likely to be just that. Praying on the desperation of people looking for work is a particularly nasty crime that is unfortunately on the increase.