In recent times, Nigerians have had their own fair share of being scammed by unemployed youths, who, go to any length to ensure they survive amid economic hardship. Gbenga Odunsi, in this piece, shares his personal encounter with job scammers, and further reveals their identities. Although this has been in place for a while, and different warnings have gone out but people still fall for it.
As I settled down to have breakfast on 10th October 2017, my phone beeped with an incoming SMS alert from a strange number – 09060277970
“Hi Odu***, how is everything? Long time, it is me, kopa Anthony Onyemaechi, your kopa mate in Oyo State 2012 Batch B. Where are you now? There is employment going on in Shell Oil, Rivers State where my in-law secured me a job chance, and now recruitment is on. If you have not gotten any job, you can call me, let me know as it is very urgent”, the SMS read.
Co-incidentally, I served in Oyo state in 2012, but the Anthony name sounds unfamiliar. I swung into action, going down memory lane to remember who Anthony was.
During my National Youth Service year, I made just few handful of friends, and certainly, none of them was from the Igbo tribe; I declined joining any group or association in camp, and during CDS. So, who is this Anthony and how did he get my number? I puzzled.
I concluded it must be one of those’ boys’.
Although I knew it was a scam, but decided to play along. I saved the number as “Scammer”, waited for about an hour before calling him.
“Hello, this is Odu***, I greeted. But the caller at the other end did not know which of his would-be victim is on the line. He offered to call back, obviously to check his records to verify if he sent an SMS to my number.
After roughly 15 minutes, the number called back, and sounded so nice over the phone’
“Hello Odu*** how far now? It’s been a while, how you dey”, he screamed. I played along and told him I cannot vividly remember him since it’s been close to 5 years.
“Hanhan you no remember me again? Anthony na, that black Anthoy at Iseyin camp, you don forget” he queried.
“We were in the same room and same platoon seven” he continued.
I was in platoon 9, but I already knew he is a scammer. I pretended to remember him, and asked about the shell job. I made him understand I have no job, hence, the need for the Shell job.
“Do not worry, we will sort it out. I got employment in Shell Oil company with the help of my in-law. Last night, he called me that a secret recruitment is going on, and he has been given two slots but he does not know anyone in dire need of a job.
“He would have given one of the slot to his son, but the son is still in 400 level, and part of the requirements for employment is NYSC certificate.
“The job is a good one, and their pay is good- they pay us 400, 000naira monthly, with 80,000naira allowance, and a potential increase to N550,000 after three months of active service. It is a place you would enjoy,” he added.
I feigned excitement about the job offer and even pleaded with him to do all he can to ensure I get the job.
“You know I am not the one in charge, I will send you my in-laws number. Call him and tell him you are from Anthony”.
Few minutes later, my phone beeped with an incoming SMS alert
“His name is Engr Peter- 08139229865. Tell him Anthony asked you to call in respect of that chance” the SMS read.
I decided not to call the supposed Engr Peter immediately- I gave them more time to be fully prepared for the next launch. I saved the number with ‘Scammer 2’
Conversation with Engr Peter
Hello, my name is Odu***, Anthony gave me your number to call you in respect of employment opportunity in Shell,” I said.
Rather than explaining about the ‘secret recruitment’ Engr Peter said he was in a meeting, and would call back. Twenty minutes later, my phone rang. It turned out to be a ‘flash’ from Engr Peter, who, supposedly works with Shell Oil and Gas. I began to wonder why a senior who works in Shell
“My son, I was in a meeting when you called earlier. Anthony told me about, and that you are of a good character. The truth is that there is an internal recruitment going on in Shell Oil in Rivers state. I have two slots to give out.
“The recruitment is for only Rivers state indigenes, and from your name, it is obvious you are not from Rivers. Be that as it may, there is still a way to go about it.
“You will need to buy employment form from the community. The reason for this form is because you are not an indigene of the community, so, it is important we lobby the community chief with some amount of money, for him to release the employment form.
“The form is N25,000. The employment is closing by 3pm today. Since you are not in Port-Harcourt, I will advise to take a flight down here or you send the money to my account, so I can get the form for you and send it via email”
As expected, I told him there was no way I could make it down to Port Harcourt, hence, sending him the money is preferable. He told me to send him my details – Name, course of study, phone number and email address. With the speed of light, I sent him the required details, and also thanked him for being so generous with the slot. Barely three minutes later, he sent in his bank details – Maxwell Martins, 0254683328, GTBank
“Rush to the nearest GTbank and pay in the sum of N25,000 to facilitate your employment. Remember it is closing by 3pm today”, he added.
Caveat Emptor on Shell website
The job offers come from organizations falsely pretending to recruit on behalf of Shell Group companies or by people claiming to work for, or be affiliated to, a Shell Group company. These propositions notify individuals that their qualifications were found suitable to work as an employee (local or expatriate) for a Shell Group company and solicit the transfer of significant sums of money to pay for work permits, insurance policies, etc.
Please note that Shell Group companies (nor any of the organisations that recruit on our behalf) never ask for any money or payments from applicants, at any point in the recruitment process. All individuals who are successful in gaining an offer of employment from a Shell Group company, whether directly or indirectly, are always required to go through a formal recruitment process. All communications should originate from a verifiable Shell e-mail address and not from an Internet e-mail address e.g.: hotmail, yahoo etc.
Please note that these communications are fraudulent. They do not originate from Shell nor are they associated with Shell’s recruitment process.
Salient points of such communications are that they come from non-Shell e-mail addresses (e.g. from a yahoo.com address); the use of English is poor; and at some stage money is requested.
We recommend that you do not respond to unsolicited business propositions and/or offers from people with whom you are unfamiliar. Do not disclose your personal or financial details to anyone you do not know. If you receive such proposals, we would advise you to contact your local police station and provide them with all information you may have from the senders (email addresses, phone/fax details, etc.).
An unemployed youth, Agari Segun narrated his ordeal in the hands of scammers claiming to help him with a job in Shell Oil.
“They used my sister to get me, and I ended up paying a sum of 25,000 naira until they were demanding for one hundred and fifty thousand naira before I realized they were scammers.
“Please beware of this details—Shellspdc2001@gmail.com; Dr Charles Gbandi- 08037500133; Account Name: Nweke John Account Number: 0055749070- Diamond Bank
I have decided to publish this story with all the facts and details of the miscreants because nobody knows who their next target will be. Be smart enough to know that any job prospect that requires you to pay any amount of money is a scam.