MANILA - Not every job advertisement you find on social media networking sites is real.
Fedeliza Balolot, a cook, learned this the hard way.
"I resigned from my job because of this employer," she said in an interview on DZMM on Tuesday morning.
Balolot is just one of several applicants who answered an advertisement on Facebook. In her case, she received a reply after a month.
"Kailangan ko daw magbayad for the seminar tapos naakit lang po ako noon kasi sabi nila ibabalik nila yung ibinayad namin kung 'di nagustuhan yung kanilang package," she said.
She thought she was being recruited by a manpower services company located in Legaspi Village.
"Hindi naman po daw malalaglag sa interview kasi lahat naman po daw pasado. Pero nasa amin pa rin yung kung ipagpapatuloy namin kasi kami magbabayad ng medical namin," she said.
But all these exchanges only happened via email or text messages. She never met any representative of the recruitment firm in person.
After she paid P3,780 through LBC, she never heard from the recruiter again.
She said the scammer used the names of two legitimate recruitment agencies, one of which is John Maurice International, Inc.
"Nung nalaman ko na scam na, nag post ulit sila which is John Maurice naman ang pangalang ginagamit nila. Isa lang yan kasi iisa lang yung taong sumasagot sa phone nila," she said.
NO JOB OFFER
John Maurice International, Inc. branch supervisor Lourdes Letaban said their company has no job offers for the Canadian market.
Apparently, the scammer also used the name of their president, Susan Miñosa, for the illegal activity, she said.
"Ginamit yung name ng president so yung nagke-claim, nagpe-present siya ng wrong ID. Nasa Cebu ang president namin pero aware naman siya sa scam," said Letaban.
Letaban said they reported the incident to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
"Inattach ko yung forwarded email nung victim together nung LBC receipt," she said.
They also reported the incident to the nearest police station and to the National Bureau of Investigation Cybercrime Division.
BEWARE OF SCAMS
POEA Anti-Recruitment Branch director, Atty. Rosemarie Duquez, said there are several scams on social networking sites targeting potential OFWs.
"Wag agad magtitiwala sa mga nagre-recruit sa Facebook, sa email. Kailangan talaga ma-check natin sa POEA at makausap natin ang taong nagre-recuit sa loob mismo ng ahensiya," Duquez said.
She likewise advised would-be OFWs to go further and check if the agency really has job orders for a particular country.
"Mave-verify po yan sa ating [POEA] information center. Just give the [recruitment] agency, sabihin may ganito bang offer sa Canada ito?" she said.
Duquez also urged applicants to first check if the agency they are transacting with is POEA-licensed. When an agency demands immediate payment of fees, this, she said, is already a red flag.
"Huwag magbayad agad o magpadala ng pera kung hindi nating nakikita yung kausap nating tao. Kung tayo ay maga-aapply, mag transact po tayo ng personal. Magpunta po tayo doon sa registered office," she said.