Sunday, February 14, 2010

Caveat Job-seekers - Online Scams!

Remember stretching the grad student budget through ‘amazing deals’ on Craig’s List & coupon websites - lamps for $5, tv for $15 or NBA tix. And equally, through internet advertising alone, I have successfully hosted many an annual fireside sale. How many of our job searches, appts etc. were located via the internet?

Viewing it all as a grand adventure most of us today switch jobs and countries at the drop of hat (unlike our parents and grand-parents.) Aided tremendously by the internet, we operate our finances & investments, negotiate job offers, apartments, buying and selling cars, furniture & flight tickets - with just a few clicks.

How many of the people we email as we hunt for jobs or appts on Craig’s List, have we previously known? The phenomenal Online Market Place – efficient and brilliantly connected.

On the other hand, unlike our parents we couldn’t definitely say that people and things are what they claimed to be – the cons of our salient Online life. We all do quickly develop common (online) sense much like our real world road-sense. Google when in doubt, scrap ‘friends’ networks to figure out the how tos of the local city, and due diligence to avoid local appt scams etc. Completely blasé, we trash online fraud mails, (Nigerian bank, UK lottery) without a glance.

Fraud Offers – Sophisticated + Contracts
But the latest avatars of online scams are keeping up with the uber-worldly, globe trotting young gen. Recently, a friend forwarded me an employment contract and job offer that he had received for an engineer’s position in the UK.

Along with the offer letter was an eight page full-fledged contract (including, complete terms and conditions, termination grounds, perquisites, remuneration etc.) The generous offer – (a) included pay commensurate with a Canary Wharf banker or attorney, (b) perquisites such as a four bedroom apartment, annual roundtrip tix to home country etc. (un-UK practices)

This employment contract strong resembles ‘real’ ones. It included employment duties, terms, boilerplate clauses. My friend was only required to furnish an "affidavit of guarantee" through a UK attorney within the next month (so that the Employer could obtain a "free visa.") (Affidavits are verified, sworn statements employed in different commercial transactions.

The Employer had even recommended the attorney for the purpose (and provided full contact details.) The contract assured that my friend would be reimbursed the affidavit costs upon joining. (For contract detail level and scam sophistication, see

The top results of an online search for "Affidavit of Guarantee" speaks eloquently - ONLINE SCAM! Frauds pose as employers + attorneys & defraud job-seekers (Rs. 1 lakh (£792+) for such false ‘affidavits’) The fraud-alerts even rank higher than the original Govt. sites (containing these forms!)

Alarm Bells Check-list

  • Offers without interviews or background checks of the employee (Even if that could be put down as not the best legal standard of work, employment without any interviews is very odd – Especially, in the UK. anti-terrorism and money-laundering compliance requirements.
  • Without interviews and background checks, how would the Co. ascertain the candidate is indeed an engineer (with the technical qualifications needed) and not a rickshaw puller and/or Osama Bin Laden.
  • Requiring you to make any advance payments (even if reimbursable).
  • Fictitious "free employment visa" channel.
  • Affidavits of Guarantee from employees – not allowed under UK Employment Visa rules.
  • Atypical terms for UK jobs (housing, annual flight tix, high pay).
  • British Crown Courts deal with criminal trials, not visas. The British High Commission in India would be the only appropriate Govt. body for you to deal with (if at all.) (See
  • Tel nos: +4470 numbers listed on the letter/contract are numbers that will get rerouted to outside the UK or are mobile nos. UK Landlines begin with +441 or +442.
  • Misleading use of well-known company names. Scamsters, for obvious reasons, use names of well-known companies (top banks - UBS, DB, hotels – Hilton, automobile – Honda, electronic – Samsung, hospitals etc.) to defraud prospective job-seekers.

Apparently, scamsters trawl online job portals, access profile info., email addresses and mass produce these letters for us. How easy! Recession providing for particularly conducive conditions for scamsters!

So, vagabonds & nomads beware of new online scam avatars - Affidavit of guarantee/visa fees for jobs, and Parisian key deposits.

Doesn’t it remind you of Mohan/S Ve Shekar in Sahadevan Mahadevan walking on dusty Cochin streets (past Malayalam signs) dressed in full Sheikh outfits believing they had been dropped at Dubai by the scam agent-boatman!

No comments:

Post a Comment


yasmin lawsuit