After the COVID-19 pandemic, many people found themselves looking for a job. The gig economy also means increased hire-and-fire by start-ups and tech-based companies. A large number of job aspirants in India make it a huge opportunity for fraudsters to prey on people who are already desperate for income. Fake job rackets are spreading over social media and it is imperative that you keep identification documents out of their reach.
Fake Job Placement Scams
A placement agency asked a young girl in Delhi to pay a registration fee of Rs3,500 and Rs8,000 just for a job interview. She paid the money through Google Pay and, after the 'interview', was given an appointment letter by Sunshine HR Global Services. When the girl turned up at the company for a job, she discovered that the appointment letter was forged. She has filed a complaint with the police.
The Delhi police raided the office of a job consultancy firm at Bhikaji Cama Place and arrested seven people, including five women, who had allegedly cheated over 250 job aspirants of around Rs23 lakh.
According to the police, the firm operated a fake call centre in the name of job placements. A raid led to the recovery of 16 mobile phones, two laptops, several registers and forged appointment letter pads in the name of Sunshine HR Global Services.
Similarly, a message is being circulated on WhatsApp in the name of the global multinational Amazon, offering recruitment. It is ostensibly being sent by a general manager of Amazon and looking to hire a team of part-time employees. The message says, "You can work part-time on your phone. A part-time job takes 10-20 minutes! Newcomers get 101RS immediately. Daily salary: 3000Rs-5000RS..."
This is a fraudulent message, and Amazon has already clarified that it has nothing to do with the post. "Amazon or its employees will never contact you to let you know about offers or jobs opportunity from Amazon. You can refer to http://amzn.to/3w1MIH3, for the available positions and apply accordingly," said the company in a tweet.
In case you received such a message, report the number to WhatsApp, which ensures that it gets blocked.
Fake Job and Loan Racket Using Other People's KYC
We, at Moneylife and Moneylife Foundation, often warn people to be careful while sharing know your customer (KYC) documents with anyone. We also advise them not to share a photocopy of any KYC documents without mentioning the purpose and date while self-attesting it.
Here is why we issue these warnings. According to IANS, Monikumar Kaipeng from Agartala used KYC documents of tribal people of Tripura to obtain SIM cards to commit cyber crimes. He also opened bank accounts in the names of tribals by paying them a small sum. These accounts would be used as money mules to route payments in large-scale fraud.
The masterminds of this fraud are two African nationals, Fasoyin Avaloho and Adbe Ange Alfred Adoni, living in Bengaluru without a valid visa or passport. This duo cheated people by promising them jobs and loans and getting the money transferred to different bank accounts opened in the name of the tribals. They also made calls using the SIMs obtained by Kaipeng, assured victims of gifts, and got the money transferred to these accounts.
The police have arrested all three individuals and seized four SIM cards and three mobile phones which they were using to cheat gullible people. The police have also seized six debit cards, besides tracing four bank accounts opened in the names of the tribals.
Beware of Gaddibaaz or Lifafebaaz Gang
The Delhi police has arrested three members of a gang of cheats known as 'Gaddibaaz' or 'Lifafebaaz'. 'Gaddi' refers to a bundle—in this case, a bundle of currency that is used to trap people, while Lifafa is an envelope – which is integral to the modus operandi of these gangs.
The Gaddibaaz gang cheats people by persuading them to exchange wads of brand new currency with loose used currency notes. They create what appears to be a bundle of currency with original notes at the top and bottom while the rest are plan paper. They then entice people to part with cash and valuables in exchange for the fake bundle of notes. To win the victim's confidence, they show the original note from the little corner of the packet and tend to flee when they have got people to part with valuables.
Notorious criminals are often part of these Gaddibaaz or Lifafebaaz gangs. Earlier, these gangs used to target people waiting for public transport, particularly at bus stands or on roadsides. Sometimes, the fraudsters pose as policemen or officials of law enforcement agencies.
The Lifafebaaz gang masquerades as police or enforcement officials. Under the pretext of a check or investigation, they ask victims to put their cash and valuables in an envelope. People realise they are duped when they find that the envelope that was returned to them after the inspection has been replaced by a similar-looking envelope before the fraudsters absconded.
These gangs are often found to operate near banks. Last week, following a tip-off, the Delhi police arrested three members of one such gang that cheated a bank customer in Fatehpur Beri of Rs55,000.