Monday, November 22, 2010

Is JobMark Nigeria a well-planned scam?

Early this morning, I got an unsolicited text message from JOBMARKNG telling me the sender knew I was fresh out of the National Youth Service Corps scheme, and that they had a job waiting for me. I didn’t really pay much attention to it at the time — I merely made a mental note to check it out since it might prove to be useful to someone else who's looking for employment.

Later this morning, I got another text message from someone who claimed we’d served together in Borno state in northern Nigeria, that he couldn’t call for some reason, and asking me to call his in-law for a job. Unfortunately, while I did server in northern Nigeria, it was not in Borno state. I regret deleting the text message as quickly as I did now. At any rate, it made me take a better look at JobMark Nigeria’s site as advertised in the spam text message I got.

The organization’s site is at Personally, I don’t really like the design, but that’s minor. What caught my attention in the (decidedly long-winded) text of the home page was this: “10% of your salary must come back to us”. Job Mark - Opera_2010-11-22_11-36-45That left me thinking it was not such an up-front site after all. Running down the page gave me another gem:Job Mark - Opera_2010-11-22_11-39-56

I also found it interesting that the site mentions the Nigerian Bureau of Labour Statistics. Searching Google turns up only the National Bureau of Statistics (in Nigeria), with a division in Employment and Labour. Methinks the NBLS does not exist. Let’s peg this to a typo, shall we?Job Mark - Opera_2010-11-22_11-49-13

Unfortunately, on visiting the National Bureau of Statistics website, I found it impossible to get any of the (admittedly very few) reports on employment and labour beyond the end of 2009. Where does JobMark Nigeria get its figures (September 2010) from then? Insider information?

Moving on, here’s something else I noticed: Job Mark - Opera_2010-11-22_12-00-08

None of the advertised job openings link to anything. You can look at the site yourself and come to your conclusion yourself. Then maybe you can tell me if it’s a scam, especially as I think people who ask you to develop communication skills should be able to properly capitalize nouns:Job Mark - Opera_2010-11-22_12-05-12



A friend who commented on this post on Facebook (and served in the same local government as I did) said he got the same text about the same time I got mine. I can only conclude someone related to NYSC (not necessarily staff, it might be a former Corps member) in some way is giving out (ex-)Corps members contact information. That gives me the heebie-jeebies — when registering, we gave numbers, contact information and whatnot — what if that information was leaked to less-than-savoury characters? I like my privacy, thank you veddy much.

Update: The same friend also sent me a message about this. The relevant parts I’ll take the liberty to reproduce below:

Just be careful. 2wks ago, i got a message from someone who claims to be <removed> from Zamfara (our batch). He told me he was stranded and i should send credit to him cos the bus he boarded had a fault in the bush coming from ZM. i think i know where that idiot got my details from.our year album/book.its only u guys from ZM that call me <removed>.

Virtually everyone is in need of employment. Jobmark is simply nothing but a scam. You do not get jobs that way. Their aim is to make job seekers lazy individuals. They promise to re-edit your CV and other stuffs that do not make any sense to me.
I just discovered something. i.e not giving my actual details in any publication such as year book etc. (emphasis mine, at least not just in any old way). Although that doesn't give an assurance not receiving such messages/mails.

I can’t fit shout. Maybe I’m paranoid, but here’s a friend who isn’t a geek realizing what many people don’t realize: There’s such a thing as too much information being given out that could put you at risk (yes, I’m looking at you heavy Facebook users. For crying out loud, robbers have actually found out when to rob houses simply by checking people’s profiles and status messages on Facebook — any search engine will give you more links).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A funk

Hello again. Haven’t updated this rag of mine in a while. I suppose I got too lazy to update it. I’ve been forgetting to do some important things, so if I was supposed to call or something, don’t get mad, ok? I’ve major things on my mind, & the decided lack of rest isn’t getting me anywhere, especially since I’ve amped up on sleep.

I was going to rant about just how much my life sucks, but then I realized it might be worse (remembering that my neighbours had a fire — the fact that 60000 young people in Lagos alone sat for an employment test when an anonymous source says the agency holding the test will only hire 2000 persons in each state — a claim that my boss says is improbable since the agency only has about 5000 staff nationwide now — according to him, anyway — also helped). Unfortunately, it doesn’t remove the feeling. I went out today with Mr Baby this evening, saw something, and the old feelings rushed to the surface. The feeling of not being where I think I should be was really strong. Pushed it down like I do all other such feelings, though, and went on into the store I was visiting.

For crying out loud, I can’t even write a blog post properly. Geh. Whatever. at least Mr Baby’s getting big.

In other news that probably doesn’t really concern or affect anyone, I like Zoundry Raven’s interface, but after trying it out for real, I’m sticking with Windows Live Writer.

On to different things. I’ve been playing around with ISO8583 and jPOS for some stuff at work, and a problem that has raised its head consistently is how to communicate with a HSM. So far, lacking a true-blue HSM to work with, I’ve been trying to get my code working with this simulator with not a lot of success. Even after wandering the web and the jPOS mailing list (as well as Andy Orrock’s blog), it seemed I was doomed to fail. Yesterday, I decided to stop looking for ready-made answers and devote time to the problem. After looking at the jPOS API documentation on FSDMsg, I was able to come up with some code that — while it doesn't exactly mirror Andy Orrock's code — works. Without further ado, it's reproduced for your viewing pleasure below (syntax highlighting via Highlight, as I've not yet got around to finding a code display widget that works on Blogger).

package testbed;
import org.jdom.JDOMException;
import org.jpos.iso.packager.DummyPackager;
import org.jpos.iso.FSDISOMsg;
import org.jpos.iso.ISOException;
import org.jpos.util.FSDMsg;
import org.jpos.util.Logger;
import org.jpos.util.SimpleLogListener;

public class TestBed {

  public static void main(String[] args) throws FileNotFoundException, IOException{
    FSDChannel channel = new FSDChannel();
    channel.setPackager(new DummyPackager());

    Logger logger = new Logger();
    logger.addListener(new SimpleLogListener(System.out));

    channel.setLogger(logger, "regular");

    FSDMsg message = new FSDMsg("file:hsm-");
    message.set("command", "NC");

    FSDISOMsg wrapper = new FSDISOMsg(message);
    wrapper.setHeader(new byte[] {0, 0, 0, 0});

    try {
        byte [] buffer = new byte[1024];

        FSDMsg response = new FSDMsg("file:hsm-resp-", "ND");


        System.out.println("Firmware number is: " + response.get("firmware-number"));
    catch (ISOException ex) {
    catch (IOException ex) {
    catch (JDOMException ex) {


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
 <field id="command" type="A" length="2" key="true" /> 


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> 
<schema id='NC'> 


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> 
<schema id='ND'> 
   <field id="lmk-check-value" type="A" length="16" /> 
   <field id="firmware-number" type="A" length="9" /> 



The code above seems to work fine…till you really look at what it does. For some reason, jPOS isn’t picking up hsm-resp-base.xml at all. Here's an updated hsm-resp-ND.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<schema id='ND'>
    <!--this is the 2-byte message length header-->
    <field id="messagelength" type="A" length="2" />
    <!--this is the 4-byte header you need to prepend the actual data with,
            byte[] header = new byte [] { 0, 0, 0, 0 }; // or whatever header you decide, useful for tagging requests
    <field id="header" type="A" length="4" />
    <!--this is the response id. in this case, it'll always be ND-->
    <field id="command" type="A" length="2" />
    <!--this is the response code-->
    <field id="response" type="N" length="2" />
    <!--this is the LMK check value-->
    <field id="lmk-check-value" type="A" length="16" />
    <!--this is the firmware number-->
    <field id="firmware-number" type="A" length="9" />