job scam illustrative pic
Fraudsters are lately touting jobs related to major officials events, promising placements after asking for 'fees' for recruitment or application. They vanish after receiving the money. Image used for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Police have warned job seekers against a new wave of fake employment offers online promising placements after asking applicants for “recruitment fees”.

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Officials said fraudsters are exploiting occasions of official events to create convincing but fake company websites and social media profiles, posing as legitimate recruitment firms. They solicit money from job applicants under the guise of fees for employment opportunities, only for the applicants to later find out they have been duped.

Abu Dhabi Police have carried out several awareness campaigns for individuals, companies and job seekers to alert them about the malicious methods used by criminals and swindlers to lure the unemployed. The police warned against dealing with anonymous websites on social media, especially websites that ask them to provide their personal information such as ID numbers, bank card information or passwords.

How the scam works
In this type of scam, fraudsters impersonate an employer’s recruiting, interviewing and HR team, create bogus job offers, and target job seekers by using fake websites or fake email addresses. They then post the fraudulent employment opportunities with the company they’re impersonating in order to obtain sensitive personal and financial information from the unsuspecting job applicant.
Some fraudsters go so far as to impersonate a company’s former employees, communicate with and hold interviews with applicants, and even extend job offers on behalf of the company. Employers have even reported individuals showing up for their onboarding meetings when a job requisition has never been opened. Occasionally the scammers request payments as part of their fake recruitment process.

Easy con

Khaled Al Hammadi

Khaled Al Hammadi, an expert in recruitment and employment, told Gulf News said: “Throughout the years that I have worked in recruitment departments, and through the experiences that I have gained, I warn young men and women against falling into the trap of recruitment agents because most of them practice illegal methods to entice job seekers.”

He added: “With the development in social media technology, swindling has become very easy to do over the mobile the phone device, using an application that can be downloaded. The swindler today no longer needs more than a mobile phone and a device or two to practice his criminal activity.”

He continued: “Recruitment fraud is on the increase. Scammers target job seekers by listing jobs that don’t exist, in the hopes of getting either money or personal data for use in identify theft. Recruitment fraud tends to occur through online services including fake social media accounts, and unsolicited emails claiming to be from well-known organisations. Often company employee names and logos are used to try to convey legitimacy.”

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‘Real danger’

Ibrahim Al Thehli

Ibrahim Al Thehli, an activist on social media, said: “Electronic fraud is not new, but has become widespread and turned into a dangerous phenomenon that threatens the security and safety of society. But what is striking is that people still fall victim to these criminal operations despite hundreds of warnings and dozens of awareness campaigns launched by the Ministry of Interior and police departments. This means that there are a few people who still do not pay attention or care much about the awareness campaigns launched by police departments.”

He added: “I advise job seekers to be careful and not deal with fake employment sites on the Internet, according to what all media outlets and police departments have reported, as most of these companies exploit their victims’ need for work, and carry out deception and electronic fraud against them.

“This is done by deluding them with the ability to providing jobs with imaginary salaries, in exchange for paying fees or unfounded expenses and without real jobs. Not only that, fraudsters ask their victims for very sensitive and private personal information such as personal identification information, bank accounts, passwords, and other very private information - and here lies the real danger.”

He concluded: “Reliable and accredited recruitment companies have verified sites on all famous social media platforms such as Facebook, Telegram, LinkedIn, and X [formerly Twitter], and they will not ask to pay sums of money, provide confidential or personal data, or provide data on credit cards or bank accounts.”

Are victims responsible?

Lawyer Dr Fatima Al Neyadi

Lawyer Dr Fatima Al Neyadi, from Capital Office for Law and Legal Consultations, said: “Fake employment is a new term that has recently spread among the unemployed and job seekers of both genders. This is a crime that falls under the terms and provisions of Federal Law No. 5 of 2012 regarding combating information technology crimes. Although the law punishes the perpetrator of this crime, the victim is also considered responsible for it to a certain extent, given that he did not adhere to the warnings of the police and security authorities and was aware of the existence of fake websites run by swindlers and fraudsters whose goal was to steal the victim’s personal information and seize his money. However, he still dealt with those fake websites.”

Legal advice

She added: “My legal advice to job seekers is to avoid dealing with these suspicious sites and make sure that they deal with sites licensed by official authorities. In addition, as a lawyer, I advise everyone, especially job seekers, not to trust unknown people and not to give them any private personal information such as identity information, bank accounts and private family information.

“The most important advice I give to anyone who falls victim to these crimes is to not hesitate to inform the security authorities, submit a complaint and an official report to the police, and not to surrender to any threat from fraudsters, regardless of the size and type of this threat. The state has enacted necessary laws to protect against the dangers of cybercrime, and has established many penalties to confront such crimes.”

Dr Fatima also urged community members that “if you receive a message containing a request, invitation, or financial or job inducement, the first step you must take is to contact the sending person or entity to confirm his identity. Technological progress has made it easy to impersonate others in order to deceive the victim, so you should not trust every email that comes to you from anyone.”