Police raid hiring agency for allegedly using popular brand names to bait victims

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 05 2019 05:28 PM

MANILA - Police raided Monday a hiring company that allegedly lured applicants by offering fake jobs to known clothing stores and coffee shops and then asking for a fee. 

Six employees and the owner of S-A-1 Human Resources Services based in Caloocan City were arrested by the Philippine National Police Anti Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG).

Supt. Mary Ivy Salazar, chief of the PNP cyber financial crime unit, said they received a complaint from a human resource manager of a coffee shop that said the hiring agency was not authorized to recruit on their behalf.

In an affidavit, the coffee shop's HR manager said the hiring agency misrepresented their company.

“They are using the company’s name on their Facebook announcements and text messages without proper authorization from us. They ask funds from applicants at our expense which destroys the reputation and branding of the company,” the affidavit read.

PNP-ACG said the hiring agency enticed people to apply as sales ladies, coffee baristas and service crews of known establishments.

Alias Jenny and Marie, both job applicants, said they first saw the opening in a Facebook advertisement.

“Agency daw po sila, direct agency,” Jenny said.

(They said they were a direct agency.)

“Desperate po akong makahanap ng trabaho at 'yung malapit po sana, sa Facebook po. Sinama ko po ang kaibigan ko, kase mukha naman siyang legit,” Marie said.

(I was desperate to get a job, especially one nearby, [I found it] on Facebook. I brought my friend because it seemed legitimate.)

Marie said they were asked to pay a P150 processing fee and P850 for their medical fee to complete the application. 

“Noong nakapagbayad na kami, nag-doubt kami ng kaibigan ko na bakit ganon bakit may bayad agad. Nag-try na kami ng agency before, wala naman kaming binayaran,” Marie said.

(After we paid, my friend and I doubted why we had to pay first. We tried an agency before and we didn't pay for anything.)

Salazar said no applicant was ever hired by the agency.

“Ipo-post nila using social media platform, text messages na nagpo-promote sila, nagha-hire at kumukuha ng employment, when in fact, wala namang nangyayari,” she added.

(The company will post on social media, send text messages promoting that they are hiring, when in fact no one is getting hired.)

Salazar reminded applicants to be extra careful when applying for jobs.

“Hindi dahil pinost sa social media, paniwalaan mo na, dapat mayroon ka pa ring other legwork kung paano mo malaman kung totoo talaga ang legitimacy ng isang kompanya. Alamin mo kung naka-register siya sa SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission),” Salazar said.

(Just because it was posted on social media doesn't mean you should believe it. Do legwork to find out if the company is legitimate. Find out if it's registered at the SEC.)

The suspects were charged with computer-related identity theft under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.