Lifeline warns of jobs scam

2014-07-30 00:00

CRIMINALS are using the name of Lifeline to lure young people into traps with scams promising training and job opportunities, the organisation has warned.

Lifeline said it learnt of the scam recently after a 21-year-old woman was allegedly kidnapped in May by people posing as officials with links to the organisation.

There were fears the woman had fallen to human traffickers.

But yesterday her father, Thabani Mbele, said she had returned safely and he would be going to the police station to report her ­return.

“She returned a few days ago … The family is very relieved that she has returned safely,” he said.

It was not immediately clear how she made it home.

The police yesterday still believed she was missing.

The director of Lifeline in Pietermaritzburg, Sinikiwe Biyela, said the young woman had apparently responded to a pamphlet about bursaries and jobs on posters in Loop Street.

“She called the phone number using her father’s phone and there were several exchanges between the young woman and someone else on that line, including SMSes for meetings that were scheduled in May,” she said.

The first meeting was allegedly held at Unisa where she wrote a test with a promise of a bursary. She allegedly failed that test and the criminals promised her a non-existent job opportunity at the Children in Distress Network (Cindi), which they later changed to a training and job opportunity at Lifeline.

A meeting was scheduled between her and her alleged abductors for a phony job at Lifeline and she never returned home.

Her parents received a ransom demand of more than a R1 000 for her release. They paid the money but she was not released.

“We became aware of the scam after the parents came here demanding their child,” said Biyela.

She said from the evidence she had seen the scam would seem convincing to outsiders.

Biyela warned people not be conned.

She said Lifeline did training twice a year and when a need arose, but the training does not come with a promise of a job.

The organisation would advertise vacancies and contact candidates from their landlines and not cellphones.

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