Dubai: A job scam in the name of Expo 2020 Dubai has been exposed after Gulf News took up a WhatsApp message making the rounds in the UAE and India with the office of the world’s largest exhibition set to begin in Dubai on October 1.
Organisers of Expo 2020 Dubai have warned people from falling prey to fake recruiters and asked those affected to report the matter to Dubai Police and other relevant authorities.
The message that has been fabricated in the form of a social media post from Expo 2020 Dubai says: “If you know anyone who is jobless in the UAE, tell them to reach out to the Expo Worker Welfare team by sending a WhatsApp message to 0504058211.”
Expo 2020 Dubai statement
In a statement issued to Gulf News, Expo 2020 Dubai said it “is aware of a communication regarding employment that is illegitimately being used by third parties to obtain personal information and claim recruitment fees”.
“We urge those who have been affected to report it to Dubai Police and other relevant authorities,” the organisers said.
“At Expo 2020 Dubai, protecting the welfare of those working to build our site is our top priority. Our Worker Welfare Policy is aligned with international best practice, such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations. Our Policy and Assurance Standards both clearly state employers must ensure the free and fair recruitment of workers.”
“That means all recruitment costs - including visas, airline tickets, and any other administrative costs - must be covered by employers without exception, and absolutely no fees should be paid by workers. If, during our monitoring, we discover fees have been paid, workers have been reimbursed,” the statement added.
Postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Expo 2020 Dubai will run from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.
‘It looked fake to me’
“I saw it in a few WhatsApp group groups here. It was posted even in a job vacancy group operating from India also,” said Najimuddin M, a maintenance helper at a shipping company in Dubai.
“Usually genuine posts appear in that group [based in India] and they [the members] even help people getting stranded in the Gulf countries,” he told Gulf News.
Muneer Pandiyala, another Indian expat in Dubai working for an online portal, said he also received a forwarded message and wanted to know if it was fake.
“It looked fake to me,” he said, adding that he was concerned that some vulnerable people might think it is a genuine message.
What happens when the number is contacted
While we were awaiting a response from Expo Dubai 2020, Gulf News contacted the number given in the fake message through WhatsApp.
The number appears as a business account. The profile picture carries the old Expo 2020 Dubai logo that was being used during the bidding time for Expo.
Any message sent to the number is answered with an automated response that reads:
“Thank you for contacting us. Please note that Expo 2020 is not hiring directly. We are looking to coordinate between jobless workers who are stranded in UAE with some companies who are looking to hire Cleaners and Security guards. In case you know anyone or you are interested let us know (sic).”
Link to ‘Expo Worker Welfare Survey’
The message also carries a link to a survey that is titled “Expo Worker Welfare Survey”.
The web page used for the survey carries Expo 2020 Dubai’s current logo and colours.
“In the event you are jobless and currently in the UAE, please complete the following questions to help us to assist you, in getting placed in a suitable organisation,” it reads.
The questionnaire asks users to provide the first name, middle name, last name, date of birth, nationality, date of entry into the UAE, visa status, visa expiry date, accommodation status, preferred job, English language [proficiency] level, email, UAE contact number and WhatsApp contact number.
Except for the middle name, all questions are mandatory.
The options given for preferred job include cleaner, security, technician and others.