Avoid Job Scams on Gumtree

This article has been adapted from the original posted by the Better Business Bureau. Craiglist is the biggest classified website worldwide and Gumtree is the equivalent in South Africa.

Gumtree scamsAs the economy recovers worldwide, more and more jobs are becoming available on sites such as Gumtree and plethora of other new job aggregation sites like CareerJet and JobRapido. These websites scan other sites with actual job listings and displays them like a Google search results page. Many people do not know how to select a credible recruitment website, and they tend to go with whatever the top listings that come up after searching.

But the increase in employment opportunities and resulting jobs listings also opens the door to scammers high jacking the names of real companies to put out job applications geared at identity theft, not employment. Even as the internet has made searching for jobs easier, it also provides an opportunity for ID thieves and scammers to take advantage of eager—and unsuspecting—job seekers.

We have received reports from job seekers that scammers have used the names of real companies advertising jobs on Gumtree to place false job applications asking for ID numbers. After checking with the local company whose name was used, the human resources director confirmed that the company does not ask for ID numbers on their applications.

We  recommend that job seekers never give out Social Security numbers until they are officially employed by a company. To do otherwise would create a real risk of identity theft, damage to credit scores and financial loss.

We offer the following tips to avoid being taken by this or similar Gumtree scams:

  • Exercise Caution. When using social networking sites like Facebook and online employment sites such as Gumtree, be sure to check the actual Web site of the company posting the position to verify it actually exists. If you don’t see it on their site, chances are it’s a scam.
  • Guard Your Resume. Some job seekers have uploaded their resume online but remember to make sure you only upload it for a legitimate purpose and company. Resumes often contain personal information, ripe for identity theft thieves.
  • Do not give too much information until you are hired. Jobseekers should become suspicious if asked for certain personal information on a job application. Never give out Social Security or bank account numbers over the phone, internet or e-mail.
  • Start with Trust. Many scams use names that are similar to reputable companies to trick job seekers. BBB recommends that job seekers check out the company first at bbb.org and to apply through the actual company site whenever possible.

NB! You will do well to read this discussion on Gumtree scams on the very popular MyBroadband forums.

source: Better Busines Bureau

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Do Facebook Junkies Have Real Friends?

Facebook privacy Mark ZuckerbergFacebook is the biggest reality show in the world. It has more than 1 billion unpaid actors who live a portion of the lives online. Recently I was interviewed by the Weekend Post newspaper about Facebook junkies or people who have more than 4,000 friends. It’s also notable I’ve closed my profile again just last week. The goal for me is to stay off Facebook until I’ve completed my long overdue book, The Psychology of Technology.

Anyway as I see it the biggest danger of publishing so much information about yourself online, is the risk of identity theft by scammers and spammers. The more personal information is published on open platforms like Facebook, the easier it is for people to steal your identity and open bank accounts, cellphone contracts and conduct transactions in your name. Those days when Facebook was a walled garden and Google was not allowed to index it’s content is history.

Facebook has ineffective privacy controls at best because they keep changing the rules. Each new feature introduced like Facebook Home, blurs the invisible line between what users want to remain private and what is actually shared. You can find significant amount of information just via Google searches without even logging into Facebook.

The company makes money from using your personal profile information to generate advertising. So it will never put it’s users concerns first while it impacts revenue or their share price.

One update per day is acceptable for most. The moment you post 10 or more updates per day, you are clearly looking for validation from your Facebook friends. For some people its acceptable to do up to 10 updates over a 12 hour period when they are promoting their business. For personal communication I’ve had some real-world friends remove me because my own business updates are to numerous.

The #1 piece of information NOT to post is your location. Make sure you GPS and Location services are turned off on your Smartphones or Tablets. If you don’t, below each update your location will be provided. Using Inbox to communicate with other users instead of public comments helps to increase privacy. The average Facebook user seems to often ignore good manners online.

The number of friends or followers was never an accurate reflection of who you are in real life. It is vastly exaggerated for the majority of Facebook users. One reason for this is the Facebook feature that constantly suggests new friends to you. I estimate at least half of people Facebook friends are people they’ve never met, and may never meet.

Facebook stopped being an closed platform when they allowed profiles to be indexed by Google several years ago. Mark Zuckerburg also demonstrated his attitude towards Facebook users when he said privacy was dead in 2010. People who believe their information or photos or updates are private since that statement are either ignorant or stupid.


Privacy and your identity

Everyone has an identity. You have the person who wakes up in the morning. You have the identity at school, you also have a different one with your parents vs you friends. So what you portray online is yet another variation on these theme. It’s another mask that you are wearing. And this is the one, for the first time now taking on a life of it’s own.

Films like The Matrix first introduced the concept of avatars to the people worldwide. Since that time it’s evolved into a reality with games like World of Warcraft or Second Life. Each one of these virtual online gaming communities have millions of men and women who are hooked.


When you think of everything in your life that you own, what items do you: Consider, Carry, and eventually Use. The answer to this is very interesting as the conscious and subconscious decision process has some kind of spiritual, emotional or practical value. These decisions shape your daily lift.

Your identity starts our with that of a child, then you become a teenagers, you then reach early adulthood, middle age, etc. As a baby you cannot differentiate between yourself and the world. This is what Freud called the oceanic experience. Can you differentiate between your persona in the world compared to your Facebook personality?

Identity theft is when one person steals another’s identity and starts to use it for fun, or for financial gain. This can lead to a range of consequences depending the intentions of the perpetrator of this crime.

Protecting Your Identity

  1. Google yourself, your cellphone “082 123 4567”
  2. Do a FREE credit check with Transunion using ID Nr.
  3. Avoid replies to unknown, unsolicited messages.
  4. Avoid, block or delete apps that serve no purpose on your phone, Facebook profile.
  5. Avoid doing online banking from a public Internet terminal
  6. Don’t click on links from friends (viruses, trojan horse)

How much are you willing to sacrifice? Every time you create a profile you are giving away small pieces of your personal privacy. The ruthless quest for money has turned almost 99% of the Internet into some kind of money making racket. And all of this is done through the invasion of your privacy.