The advent of digital advertising has opened opportunities for content creators to make money from their content. This includes websites owners or YouTube Channel owners who can earn money by having ads placed on their websites.

If you visit most news websites, they are full of blinking, shouting and screaming ads. Some ads are designed in a way that you will click them even accidentally. If you click on the ad, the owner of the website gets some money.

It is also a good time for advertisers who can now effortlessly get their ads placed in convenient places. This has enabled many people to have their ads following their potential clients wherever they go. You search for a microwave online and the next day every website you visit has an advert for the cheapest and most efficient microwave.

That is simply how the online adverts work.

However, there has been a proliferation of fake adverts that are meant to dupe people and con them off their hard earned money. One of those is job adverts, like the ad shown below in the Daily Nation website.

Fake ad displayed on Kenya's Daily Nation website.

Once you click on the advert, it takes to a Google Sheet document where you will fill in your details, and they ask you to pay money to be considered for the job. The money is paid through an M-PESA number.

Since the ad is fake (Tuskys have confirmed it is fake), desperate young people are likely to pay the money and get scammed. The ad has some form of credibility because it appears on a legitimate news website, and most people do not understand the dynamics and mechanisms behind the placement of the ads.

How to stay safe

  1. If a job requires you to pay some money to be considered, stay away. It does not matter if there is a promise for refund.
  2. Always check use the official company website for job application, unless if the recruitment is being done by an agency. In this case, it should be the official website for the agency. An ad for Tuskys should be at tuskys.com and not a random google doc.
  3. Always report suspected malicious ads to Google. You can do this by clicking on the top right corner of the ad, although Google does not give any feedback.
  4. If possible, report the crime to the DCI or even notify Safaricom because their M-PESA channel is being used.

Google also needs to do something to catch these people, possibly by blocking their Google Ads accounts.

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