Scams scams scams. Why are people so heartless?
Lately, we have been receiving reports of many aviation enthusiasts who have been swindled over the internet by scammers who are pretending to represent certain airlines.
The latest story about a girl called Lesedi* almost brought tears to my eyes. Out of desperation for a Flight Attendant`s job, she was duped of over R3000 (about US$260) and was almost sexually harassed in the process. Without hesitation, I immediately took my pen and paper and thought I could, in my own small way, help to prevent many others from falling victim to the same problem.
Nobody wants to be duped of course, but with a little extra caution and the right information, being scammed can be avoided. The question is how do we distinguish a genuine airline job vacancy from a fake one? Let us look at the 8 biggest signs that can help you identify an airline job scam.
Check that email address again
Did you receive a Flight Attendant job offer from an email that looks like this?
Like seriously are you sure you want to be employed by an airline with such an email address? How can an airline use a Gmail account for their recruitment?
Pay close attention to such email addresses and don’t reply or click any links. These could be attackers wanting to hack your account or to cause you more harm than you can imagine. Fake airlines often use spoofed email addresses (email addresses that appear to come from a trustworthy source) to trick you. These emails often include phishing attack attempts. If the email doesn’t include the company’s address and phone, it’s a good bet that it’s a scam.
- Wait a minute, did the airline contact you first?
That`s a big warning sign there, you suddenly received a call from an ‘airline’ claiming that they found your resume online and want you to fly with them. Honestly?
Most airlines receive over 200 applications daily. What makes you so special to be handpicked and offered a job immediately without you applying for it first? You must be Miss Universe then. They either offer you a job right away or say they want to interview you. Sometimes the scammers will try to entice you by saying that you made the cut and they are interviewing the finalists for the job. Good luck with that.
- Mum was right, it`s too good to be true
The pay looks a bit too exaggerated. A classic email I received a few months ago had these words:
“Tinashe, you will be flying weekends only between 8 am to 5 pm and you will be earning $145 per hour for this position. We also offer flexible hours….”
I didn’t know much about the industry at that time and I almost fell victim to that offer. No airline can pay a Flight Attendant that much, and also due to something called airline Flight Duty Periods (don’t worry about this term, it is just some set of laws that govern working hours for airline crews) I possibly cannot work as a Flight Attendant from 8 am to 5 pm. That is against the laws. Then $145 per hour working only weekends? An average annual wage for most starting Flight Attendants is around $40,000 (in a very good airline). As a matter of fact, it takes quite some bit of time to make that kind of money working a regular schedule, especially if you have less than 10 years of working experience with the airline.
Listen, my friend, good jobs are hard to find. Like your mom always said, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.
- “Don`t worry we will train you”
If you have gone all the way to attending an airline interview, it is your right to ask for the job description before you attend the interview. You should know it is fake immediately when you get the brush-off. The interviewer either ignores the questions or says something like
“Don’t worry, we’ll train you.”
There is no clear job description. However, some scam airlines try to make it real by listing job requirements. Usually, these requirements are so ridiculously simple that almost everyone qualifies: Must be 18 years old, must be a citizen, Must have passion to fly. The job requirements don’t mention years of education or crew experience. As a rule of thumb, if it’s a real airline job, the requirements will be quite specific. If you are not sure of what airlines primarily look for when they are recruiting, then you need to read this post.
- Did this guy go to primary school?
Check the grammar and the spelling in the job advert or email. This is a big one because, to be honest with you, if you have English as terrible as hell then you have no business working as a recruitment executive in the aviation world. English is the official language of aviation and it becomes very suspicious if you receive an email with terrible English. Look at this:
“The airlines Human resources have just reviewed your resume due to the one you posted on www.airlinexyz.com.You are now scheduled For an interview,with hiring manager of the company.”
In this example, the mistakes include:
- Capitalization errors — ‘Human resources’ should be ‘Human Resources’, and ‘For’ should be ‘for’
- Punctuation errors — Commas, periods, and parentheses should be followed by a space
- Grammatical errors — “Human resources have reviewed” should be “Human Resources has reviewed…”
- Google begs to differ
You do a quick Google search and umm the search results don’t add up. Before agreeing to an airline job interview please do your research. When searching for information about the company, search for both the company’s name and the email address. Also, copy/paste paragraphs from the email into the search box.
Scammers may change the company name but re-use the other parts of the email, and it’s possible you’ll find an identical email posted online. If it’s a real airline, you should be able to find information about it by doing an online search. At the same time, finding information does not guarantee that the airline is legit, but if you can’t find anything at all on Google, you can bet it’s a scam.
- And what do you need my photo for?
I still do not understand why the majority of people who look for Flight Attendant jobs still believe that airlines recruit solely based on looks. If that was so, some of us would never had made in into this industry. The airlines are not looking for super models. They are looking for candidates whose values are in sync with theirs, such as a drive to excel and innovate, and putting others first. If they continue to insist that you send your photo first, especially via WhatsApp (which airline recruits via WhatsApp???) then I`m sorry you are heading for trouble.
Never send your photos to anyone in any form! You never know how they’ll be used. Not only is it unsafe (be aware of human trafficking), when someone, especially someone you don’t know, is asking for a picture of you. I’d be willing to bet there are no good intentions behind it. A trusted family member is fine, but a stranger over the internet is about as bright of a red flag as I can think of.
- Pay for the interview
Then there are those recruiting agents who say
“You have a lot of strong, relevant experience and are an excellent candidate. We would now like to offer you an interview opportunity at a very affordable charge of $150”
Hey buddy wake up, you are being scammed! At Yadley.com, we have always stated before and will continue to say that a good recruiting agency MUST NOT charge you for an airline job placement upfront.
If it is a genuine agency, they should be paid by the airline they are recruiting for not by YOU the client. Makes sense? The only exception I can think of is if they are offering something tangible, like coaching sessions for airline interview preparations or resume building. Most other recruiting firms will help you out (to some extent) in those areas at no charge at all.
When all has been said and done…
At the end of the day, to reduce your chances of getting scammed, use job sites that have privacy policies and only allow verified employers to view the listings. There are many websites offering genuine airline jobs around, and a good place to start is Jobs Yadley. Keep your eyes open and be on the lookout, people are insanely wicked nowadays.
*name has been changed to protect the person`s privacy