Beware of Job Offers - It may be a Scam

Criminals are constantly developing new and ingenious way to commit frauds and crimes. One of the most common being “Job scams” or “Fake Jobs” scams which have been a predominant occurrence over the last few years. Further with the present situation fraudsters are taking advantage of the increase in unemployment numbers to scam unsuspecting public.

Instance 1: Employment and more so employment with a multi-national is a dream come true. When a job consultant therefore offers you such huge opportunities and makes it so real, you tend to believe the dream.  A job consultant claims there are openings in a multinational IT Company. The entire process including an interview at the office of the Company with a “representative” submission of originals and a job – offer letter on company letterhead, which looks completely authentic makes you part with money to the “job consultant” – only to be told on the day of joining that it was a scam and that there is no job to join! The victim has merely fallen prey, as have several thousand victims, to a job scam. Scamsters rely on very authentic processes to scam innocent and many times desperate job seekers. The entire process is made to appear genuine. Sometimes calls would be arranged to numbers, which could be genuine but it would  still be a highly orchestrated scam. These are all just some modus used by scamsters to defraud in this tough situation.  

Instance 2: Emails are received by several hundreds of job aspirants with offers of jobs in software companies; international airlines; IT Companies; it could also be some of the large social media companies or large insurance companies. Companies, which youngsters would aspire to join are chosen invariably. From mails to calls to personal interviews sometimes at fancy hotels, victims are lured to part with Rs.250,000 to Rs.500,000/- under the guise of interview fees, security deposits or consultancy fees (https://www.indiatoday.in/mail-today/story/fake-job-rackets-a-booming-industry-in-delhi-thanks-to-shrinking-jobs-an-anotomy-1638950-2020-01-22). These rackets are not individual scams but large networks of criminals working together.

Websites may be fabricated, temporary offices set up for meetings etc., or fancy hotel conference rooms may be booked. Job sites give easy access to a huge volume of data to scamsters and they would be mining these to commit frauds.

In April, the Indian embassy in Qatartweeted: ‘Please do not trust any recruiting agent who promises you a job in Qatar on a business/visit visa. Always ask for a copy of the agent’s Qatar ID.’ (Source- https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/wealth/earn/fake-job-offers-how-to-avoid-getting-duped-in-job-scams/articleshow/69173183.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst)

Companies, whose names are used to commit these scams stand to lose a lot too and not just individuals scammed. Companies have to demonstrate that neither they nor any persons employed with them had to do anything with the scams. When a candidate says she visited the office and that the meetings were conducted in an office premises with strong security protocols including the need for smart card to enter, the reasons that the candidate believed the criminals also become the reasons why companies have to prove their innocence. On one hand companies have to clear their name with police and on the other they also have to control the damage that can be caused to their credibility and standing, as that will be harmed substantially either way – from exposure of security breaches in their premises to the candidate still questioning the credibility of the company.

It is important for companies to also therefore take preventive and protective measures. One such measure that large companies have resorted to is to issue public warnings against such job scams. Apart from these measures, companies will have to take more stringent preventive and protective measures.

Law provides several remedies under both the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (“IPC”) and the Information Technology (amendment) Act, 2000 (“IT Act”). Where the case is of theft, cheating, breach of trust and misappropriation through personal contact to defraud, IPC offences of Sections 380, 420, 416, 403 and 406 may be invoked. These would depend on the facts and circumstances of the case.

Similarly, when digital means are adapted to commit these crimes, Sections 66C and / or Section 66D IT Act may be invoked. Such or other provisions are contingent on the facts of each case. Victims ought to seek professional legal advice with respect thereto based on the specifics of their case.

In case of cybercrimes, victims may file their complaint online on cybercrime.gov.in ; Victims ought to definitely report such scams so that they get justice and also protect others from falling victims. Be A Cyber Saathi!

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