Warning to job-seekers about bogus recruitment scams

Fraudsters are luring victims by posing as big, UAE-based companies that are offering them a job and then asking for fees up front or their bank account details.

Amir Kolahzadeh, managing director of Itsec, one of region’s leaders in cyber security. Antonie Robertson / The National
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ABU DHABI // Job hunters have been warned against recruitment scams promising them high-paid positions at leading companies.

Fraudsters in the UAE and abroad have been offering lucrative positions at companies including Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Adnoc, Etihad and Emirates airlines, often in return for a processing or recruitment fee, or to obtain bank details.

The companies warned that the offers were not legitimate.

“The fake job offer has been around in the UAE for a while now and many have fallen victim to it,” said Amir Kolahzadeh, managing director of Itsec, one of the Middle East’s leaders in cyber security.

“There have been many cases involving Adnoc, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and many other large enterprises, where con artists are offering high-salary positions on a fake letterhead and logo.

“The websites are cloned and redirected to the different URL, tricking the public into believing that the job offer is real. In exchange, the scammer will ask for upfront payment to cover travel and visa fee for a job that does not exist.”

Mr Kolahzadeh added that, regardless of whether the job offer was genuine or a fraud, it was against the law for any employer to ask for such fees.

Hassan Elhais, a legal consultant at Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants, said job scams were some of the most common cyber crimes.

“Keep in mind that most job offers which require the employee to pay the employer a sum of money are generally bogus, or a scam,” Mr Elhais said.

Fraudsters often find their victims by sifting through CVs posted by jobseekers on employment websites.

Waleed Barhaji, head of consumer finance at Noor Bank, said scammers exploited the high demand for jobs in the country.

“They would pose as authorised recruiters to try and collect a fee under the guise of administrative fees, application fees or visa charges,” Mr Barhaji said.

Clinton Firth, Mena cyber advisory leader at financial services company E Y, said job scams and others such as financial windfalls all had the same characteristics.

“They are trying to replicate being a real entity, with the more sophisticated ones having a better and more comprehensive cover story,” Mr Firth said. “For the job offers, they will initiate unannounced contact and look to lure you in.”

Cleveland Clinic in the capital said that it was aware of fraudulent emails being sent to medical professionals and was investigating, while Adnoc issued a scam warning on its website, which said it was aware that fictitious jobs were being offered.

“To appear convincing, fake employment contracts are signed by a so-called H R manager, usually featuring the name and logo of Adnoc or one of its group of companies on their letterheads and pages,” the company said.

Etihad and Emirates airlines have posted similar warnings on their websites.

“These people and organisations may request personal information or money from you in order to progress the application,” Etihad’s website warned.

Emirates reminded jobseekers that all Emirates Group email addresses end in @emirates.com and a candidate would never be sent correspondence from personal email accounts, such as Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail.