DAR ES SALAAM residents, and Tanzanians at large, should be on the lookout for a group of highly sophisticated conmen who fleece unsuspecting job seekers.
Investigations by this paper has established that with the increasing number of job seekers in the country, a clique of people is taking advantage of the situation to enrich themselves.
One of the methods used by this group of people, a method which has withstood the test of time, is to call unsuspecting people and let them in on a "lucrative" business deal which promises millions, if not billions to the willing at heart.
But in the recent past, this paper has established that apart from coercing millions of shillings from unsuspecting Tanzanians, this group of people is going for the jugular, ripping thousands of shillings from the unemployed.
With the emergence of foreign supermarkets in Tanzania, and with Kenyans taking a giant step in investing in the supermarket industry, the conmen have devised ingenious ways of getting a chunk of the cake, by placing posters in strategic points announcing employment opportunities.
"We have been dealing with numerous complaints from people who have been conned since we opened our operations, but all I can tell Tanzanians is that the people who announce vacancies in our supermarket are conmen, because we have never advertised," said the manager of Nakumatt Supermarket in Mlimani City, who requested anonymity.
This followed a number of complaints from irate people who have been taken for a smooth ride by the conmen, which left them several thousand short.
The posters which are placed in strategic places like bus stops and restaurants, announce to job seekers that a certain foreign supermarket is hiring, and they go a step further and indicate the positions which are available, which include drivers, cashiers, cleaners and supervisors.
"Attractive remunerations await qualified candidates", announces the posters, and below that several telephone numbers are printed for interested candidates to call.
Posing as a desperate job seeker, our reporter called one of the numbers, a male with a very official voice answered the call, and when our reporter told him that he was responding to the posters, he referred him to a colleague on a different number.
The female colleague who is supposed to be the supervisor sounds harried, and before taking your details she asks you how much you have got.
Sunday News: Good afternoon madam, I have been directed by your colleagues to call you concerning the possibility of landing a job at your supermarket
Con woman: Okay, did he tell you that there are only limited positions remaining? How much are you willing to give?
Daily News: I do not understand madam, what do you mean by how much?
Con woman: Don't waste my time please, do you think that I can take all your details and put you in our system without getting a token of appreciation from you?
Sunday News: But madam, I am desperate for a job, and right now I have nothing, that is why I am looking for a job.
Con woman: How much can you spare?
By now her voice is agitated, and our reporter quickly tells her that he has only 30,000/- in his pocket. Con woman: Okay, what you can do is to send that money to me immediately through my number, the name Mariam will be indicated, but make sure that when you receive your first salary you should add to that amount.
Daily News: How much is the expected salary madam Con woman: You will be paid 400,000/- every month, plus 5,000/- transport allowance everyday.
At this juncture she proceeds to conduct a hasty interview, which includes your name, age, tribe, your level of education, where you stay and the name of your village executive.
The number which features prominently in this scam includes 0716 139839, which is preceded by another mobile number 0715 341939, numbers which have also been linked to conning people believing that they are assisting friends and relatives.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a police officer stationed at the Milimani Shopping Mall told our reporter that on several occasions they have tried to waylay the conmen but they are too slippery.
"Some of these people are doing their conning business right here in the mall, because when some of their victims call them to tell them that they have arrived, they tell them they cannot expose themselves because there are cameras stationed in most parts of the mall," he said.
He said that from their conversation, it is obvious that they actually locate their victims from a hidden place, because they can even tell them the type of clothes they are wearing.