FRANCISTOWN: Another job scam has hit the country after a company advertised job vacancies in local newspapers. Already two people have surfaced saying that they have lost several thousands of Pula in the scam.
Richard Harriman of Business and Enterprise Botswana (BES) and Consumer Watchdog has found people who have been cheated out of their money.
A company called International Transition Abroad (ITA) advertised for posts in several countries abroad and a lot of people applied.
When Harriman started investigating, within 24 hours people started telling their tales of how they lost money to this company.
People, who applied for the posts that were advertised in Monitor and The Voice received the same acceptance letters, addressed to, 'The Prospective Client' and asking for $350 as a registration fee.
The acceptance letter included a personal First National Bank (FNB) account number in South Africa even though some of the telephone numbers have a United Kingdom area code.
One of the women who lost money in the process says that she applied after seeing the advert in the newspapers on 28 January.
"I applied there because I knew people in the UK who said that they had gone there using the company's services," she said.
She says that when she received her acceptance letter she immediately paid the $350 registration fee. The young lady says that she was then requested to deposit another $1,300 for the visas.
"I did not mind all that because I knew I was going overseas and I was going to be getting paid $5,300, have health insurance for me and my family, and I would be able to participate in the company's pension plan and would have four weeks paid vacation every year," she said.
She said that she went on to send copies of her ID, passport so they could be able to send it to the relevant embassy for visas.
"The copy of a visa that he sent me was one of the things that alerted me because it did not look real at all, only my picture looked real," she said.
She has lost around P15,000.
She further says that for the past few days she was talking back and forth about getting her money back with a guy who calls himself Henry Jackson and also Paul Grijalva.
Another woman, known only as Margaret, also called BES offices because she had been conned out of P10,000 by the same company.
Harriman says that the number of scams that have hit Batswana are increasing. He says that the reason why the numbers keep going up could be because people all have access to the internet.
"It is now much easier for scammers to contact us at home and at work with the tempting offers that they use to catch us," he said.
He further said that particularly as the world faces financial hard times these offers will be more tempting.
"Nobody ever gets a job like this, it has never happened like this and if you think carefully the warning signs are there," said Harriman.
He said the emails are not addressed to anyone in particular. They all mention the same salary and the same reference number.
Harriman further said that when they called the so-called ITA and pretended to have received one of the job offer e-mails they were welcomed.
"Even though we had never received such an e-mail they still offered us work. Our caller was offered several thousands of US dollars to work on a cruise ship," he said.
Harriman advises people that "if it is too good to be true then it probably is".