Upon an alert from Khaleej Times about the scam on Thursday, Thumbay Hospitals has filed a complaint with Al Qusais Police Station and another with the cybercrimes department of the Dubai Police, Thumbay Group's HR department has confirmed. The group has also came out with a warning on its website against the fraudsters.
The letters are targeted at healthcare professionals in India. One such letter received by a gynaecologist in Kerala said the company would be giving a salary of Dh45,500 plus additional allowances of around Dh15,000, which is very attractive according to Indian standards.
"The appointment letter looks very authentic. I initially believed it is original as I had sent an application to Thumbay Hospital two years ago," Dr Jayashree Nair, who received the appointment letter, told Khaleej Times over phone from India.
"At first, I received an e-mail saying my resume has been shortlisted. And they asked me to send an updated CV if I am still interested in the job. Once I sent the CV, I received the appointment letter, which looked completely genuine."
The website URL mentioned in the appointment letter and another mention about licence from the Department of Health Abu Dhabi (HAAD) raised the suspicion of Jayashree. However, the website address given by the scamsters (thmby-ae.com) looked real as they had mirrored the original website (thumbayhospital.com) with certain omissions from the latter, which include the contact numbers and careers page.
In the appointment letter for the post of gynaecology resident medical officer, Jayashree was asked to contact a travel and tourism company, Union Travel and Tourism Bureau, in Abu Dhabi. However, the fraudsters did not give a landline number of the firm, but instead gave a mobile number. Khaleej Times tried to contact the firm on its landline number, which was not answering even after repeated attempts.
Even after knowing that this is a scam, Jayashree called on the mobile numbers given on the appointment letters. "First they asked me to sign the appointment letter and send it back to let me know the further procedure. However, when I insisted, they said the processing fees should be around $1,500, which would be Rs100,000 approximately."
In a call recording between the doctor and 'the recruitment official', which Khaleej Times had access to, a person with an African accent was elusive to answer the queries raised by Jayashree.
A spokesperson from Thumbay Group warned jobseekers against falling into the trap of such fraudsters. "As per Thumbay Group's policy, we follow a comprehensive recruitment process across all our companies, which includes a personnel interview. We do not make employment offers solely on the basis of a candidate's CV. All recruitments for the group or group companies are done through our own HR department and are not outsourced to any external agencies or individuals. Furthermore, we do not solicit any payment at any stage of recruitment process," he added.
"Our legal department has also registered a police complaint at the Qusais police station, under whose jurisdiction Thumbay Hospital Dubai falls, as well as a cyber-crime complaint," the spokesperson confirmed to Khaleej Times.
An official at Al Qusais Police Station confirmed to Khaleej Times that a complaint was registered with the police.
According to Saeed Al Hajri, Director of the General Department of Cyber Crimes at the Dubai Police, the police has received several similar complaints from companies.
"The scamsters are cheating jobseekers as they ask them to pay money as processing fees to convince that their job offer is serious. They send out designed job offer letters, asking the candidates to pay and take advantage of social media and websites to get potential victims."
Some victims are paying money without realising that the contract is not real, while others are able to figure this out and inform police officials.
With inputs from Amira Agarib
The scamsters created a lookalike website of thumbayhospital.com with almost similar contents to give more authenticity to their scheme.
The URL for the fake website is thmby-ae.com, which mirrors the original website with certain changes. The major change in the fake website is the contact numbers. For every branch of the hospital, the scamsters had given their mobile number as the contact number, whereas in the original website, there are landline numbers for each branch.
Upon investigation, it was found that the fake website was created on April 20, 2018, and is registered with an Amsterdam address and phone number, which are not traceable. To add to it, the fake website is hosted by "24 shells" and Amsterdam is just one of them, said an expert.
This is not the first time fake appointment letters in the names of established firms in the UAE are being sent to job aspirants in Asian countries. This January, Khaleej Times reported about Indian teachers and education professionals being cheated by the fraudsters, who used the names of major schools and varsities in the UAE. Many teachers had lost thousands of rupees in such scam.
In another incident, an Indian healthcare professional in the UAE received a similar appointment letter last year from Abu Dhabi's Awazen hospital. "They used the name of a recruitment agency, and a tour company named Expo Travel and Tourism. However, I tried many times to contact them on the given number, the calls to which they never answer if the caller is from the UAE. After contacting the hospital, I came to know that the appointment letter was fake," she told Khaleej Times.
Khaleej Times also reported earlier about the name of Dar Al Shifaa Hospital and other major institutions being used by fraudsters.
How to identify fake appointment letters
1. If the salary and perks look unbelievably high, don't go for it or verify before doing it
2. A simple Google search would give you details about the institution. Don't simply act as per the details given in the appointment letter.
3. It's illegal for the firms in the UAE to ask job aspirants to pay for visa or any other processing fee.
4. Alert the authorities if you find the letters are fake
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