October 14, 2020

Online Job Scams: An Issue Of Grave Concern

According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), India’s unemployment rate in September 2020 shot up to 6.67% and in J&K its 16.2%. Heights unemployment rate in September 2020 is in uttarakhand 22.3%, J&k has second heights 16.2% unemployment rate. Combined with easy accessibility of the Internet, this has come as a boon for job scammers, who are offering non-existent jobs to desperate youth. “Students fresh out of college, from one of the thousands of engineering colleges in small towns, are easily trapped. Their parents have invested Rs 4-5 lakh and now want the kids to earn big money. At least 10-12 cases of fake job offers are reported daily in Bengaluru, suggested a New Indian Express report from February 2018. It mentioned that most of these scammers try to lure job aspirants by sending them a fake mail from the address of a reputed company. This is just one such way scamsters are taking advantage of job seekers in the country.Most of these fake job recruiters source phone numbers of job candidates in bulk and send them emails from illegally generated IDs of reputed companies. The scamsters may even directly text you on WhatsApp or SMS, with a synopsis of the job offer along with the salary particulars; the number of an HR—almost always a woman—is also shared for taking the offer forward. For most scamsters, online job portals are a popular haunt to find prey. Here’s how they proceed:
1. Applicant profiles accessed from job recruitment sites.
2. Mass mailers sent to potential candidates.
3. Fraudsters pose as job consultants, set up fake websites, temporary ‘offices’.
4. Candidates are asked to deposit registration fees via wallet or bank transfers.
5. Online or telephonic interviews are conducted.
6. Fake appointment letters are offered.
Victim profile:-
These are the type of people who are most likely to fall prey to job scams:
1. Graduate from lesser known colleges or institutes.
2. Poor interpersonal communication skills.
3. 0-5 year work experience.
4. Not good at written or spoken English.
5. Not very skilled at their jobs; low professional expertise.
6. Need of job because of financial problems in family.
7. Unawareness about job scammers.
8. Searching jobs on Google, Nakuri.com , linked in etc.
Different approaches of scammers:
Scammers adopt different approaches to find and nail their prey.
(1) Phishing & mailing: This is probably the easiest way for racketeers to find victims. “By posing as freelance job consultants, they scour multiple job portals like Monster, Naukri, Times Jobs and Shine to get access to their databases. They then send mass mailers and, even if they dupe 5% of job-seekers, they make a lot of money. The mails typically ask for a security deposit, interview fee or other charges, a prerequisite for scheduling an interview. While some fraudsters disappear as soon as they get the money, others go so far as to conduct a quick online or telephonic interview before allotting a fake appointment letter.
(2) Fake websites: Duplicate websites of reputed companies, job portals or government departments are created to mislead applicants. “They then post fake jobs, conduct tests and upload results, before charging the successful candidates for clearing the interview. Scammers set up temporary offices, hiring staffers, conducting interviews, allotting appointment letters and charging fees in instalments.Its important to note that they mostly do blunder on job profile about the job location. They mostly prefer job location all over India. Which is logically not possible for any of the job firms.
(3) Campus placements: Scammers pose as job consultants and directly contact the chairmen of colleges or institutes in small towns. They promise placements in top and reputed firms, and charge a lump sum. They mostly vanish before conducting the promised interviews.
Hall of Infamy: Hiring scams
1. Ghaziabad scam
In June 2018, three men were arrested from Kavi Nagar in Ghaziabad for cheating hundreds of job seekers over two years. Amount: Rs 3.5 crore
2. Hyderabad scam
In June 2018, three men were held in Hyderabad for extracting Rs 2 lakh each from 60 unemployed youth in three months. Amount: Rs 1.2 crore
Recommendations:-
(1) Spot imposters: Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.
(2) Do online searches: Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.
(3) Money: If money is asked, then it’s fake job. No legitimate company asks for money in the name of bond or security deposits in advance.
(4) Job location: Job scammers mostly do blunder on job profile about job locations. They mostly prefer job location all over India, which is not possible for any of the Private company.
(5) Talk to someone: Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. I have personally received a call from lady after completion of my Civil Engineering course. She asked me that” we are contacting you through your college”. She asked me to search about our company on Technical solution.inn and she insists me to submit your resume. I have submitted resume , after that she suggested me to pay Rs 1200 for joining letter. Then I smell something fishy about this job offer. Later I came to know that it was fraud. Cyber Laws offer a legal recourse to recover your money if you are a victim of such scams. Online Recruitment Scammers can be booked under the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and The Indian Penal Code. Here are the steps that will help you recover your money:
1. File a complaint with the Cyber Crime Cell to trace the ip address from which you received the scam email.
2. Submit a Customer Dispute Resolution Form with the Bank from where you have transferred the money.
3. Make a complaint to the Bank in which the Scammer has a bank account, where you have transferred the money.
4. File a complaint before the Adjudicating Officer, Information Technology Act, 2000 against the Bank where the scammers bank account is functional, along with making the IP address a party so that the Court orders a tracing of the address.
5. The court will further conduct an inquiry into your complaint and the matter will be heard and decided within a period of 6 to 9 months.
6. The complaint should be filed in the format as specified in The Information Technology (Qualification and Experience of Adjudicating Officers and Manner of Holding Enquiry) Rules, 2003.
7. The Application Fees for filing a Complaint is Rs. 50 and depending on the claim amount a court fees is payable.

( The author is a civil engineer by profession and a freelancer. Views are his own ) [email protected]

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