Dubai employer dupes job seekers, flees with their money

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Picture used for illustrative purposes alone
Picture used for illustrative purposes alone

Khaleej Times investigation blows the lid off a recruitment scam that swindled many job seekers.

By V. M. Sathish & Amira Agarib

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Published: Fri 30 Dec 2016, 10:04 PM

Last updated: Tue 5 Sep 2023, 3:44 PM

They paid Dh1,000 each for a 'dream' job that promised them 'attractive' salaries of Dh3,000 per month with perks. They are now living through a nightmare of a job hunt after being conned by a company that has vanished into thin air. The victims, mostly Indians, are scurrying for answers after the firm that hired them hastily shut its office and officials disappeared this month. Six victims of the recruitment scam have lodged formal complaints at the Naif police station and police are searching for company officials, including the owner, who is believed to be still in the UAE.

The modus operandi of this recruitment scam was simple. Put out ads on websites and lure victims with sweet salaries made sweeter with perks. The victims were allegedly asked to sign 'offer letters' by officials of the mobile phone accessories trading firm based in Frij Murar in Dubai's Naif area.

Those allegedly duped by the company told Khaleej Times that the Dh1,000 they paid was a 'security deposit' which would be refunded. Muhammed Lisan Moolakkadath, one of the victims, still cannot believe how this could have happened to him. He appeared lost for words when we met him. "I think we have been cheated by the company which recruited many of us through online job portals offering Dh3,000, plus commission and other benefits."

He said the company allegedly recruited unsuspecting sales people like him on December 18. "We were asked to sell mobile accessories worth Dh100," said Lisan, who is not just shocked but angry at the way he was taken for a ride. Nothing seemed amiss two weeks ago when he signed the 'job contract' with the company, which police said is not worth the piece of paper it's printed on. "I was asked to shell out the deposit money and they took copies of my passport, Emirates ID and other documents," said the duped candidate.

Lisan and others like him are now concerned that copies of the documents could be used to commit other crimes by the scamsters.

When Khaleej Times visited the closed office in Al Suwaidi building in Frij Murar earlier this week, we found a stream of job-seekers enquiring about the whereabouts of officials of the firm. We counted at least 25 people who had gathered outside the building. The number could be higher. Some went into a huddle on the next course of action. They seemed lost and desperate. Efforts to reach the owner were in vain as his phone was switched off. Sales staff who hoped to join work were left staring at the closed door of the flat that was converted into an office.

Some of the victims were clearly troubled as they had borrowed money to land the job. Dejection was writ large on their faces. "We have made a complaint with the police. I went to collect the offer letter after paying Dh1,000 deposit," said a young Indian from Bangalore who did not wish to be named. "The letter said I would be on probation for 15 days. They offered a plane ticket after one year. I will now have to fly home within a week if this issue is not resolved and I don't get my money back."

"My job offer had the letterhead and seal of the company. There was no reason to suspect them,'' said another job seeker, who has given up on his deposit he had borrowed from friends. The company said the security amount would be ''returned after two months of service''.

Another man who filed a complaint said there are more people who were cheated. "They keep coming to the office every day. The numbers will only keep growing," he said.

"The company gave offer letters to the complainants and asked them to pay deposit money. The owner then made off with the cash," a police official said. Some of the officials of the company were traced and were summoned to the police station in Naif. Three of the employees who allegedly interviewed the sales candidates told police that they too had not been paid for many months by the company.

"We don't know how many job seekers were really cheated. Different people keep coming daily to the office only to run into the shut door of the company's office," said a man who was swindled of his cash..

"My job offer bore the letterhead and seal of the company. I had no reason to doubt them. I now feel cheated and ashamed,'' said another victim of the scam.

Most of the job-seekers were lured by advertisements in career guidance sites put out by the limited liability company. The ad said it required Indian sales staff with a high school certficate for its mobile accessories business in Deira.

The job was to visit electronic and mobile accessories shops to canvass orders, collect and handover daily collection and improve client relationship. Work hours were bwteeen 9-5pm with a salary of Dh3,000 salary per month plus transport and telephone expenses, according to the advertisement.

What many candidates did not realise was there was a catch - a "Dh1,000 as security deposit which will be refundable (sic) in second month salary, if the candidate works consistently."

Most of the mobile accessories cost just Dh50 and sales staff like Mohammed Lisan tried in vain to sell these products in Dubai Sharjah and Ajman.

Career experts have been advising job seekers, especially expatriates on visit visas to be vigilant about advertisements and job offers that involve prior payment of money as 'security deposit', job processing fees or any other forms of advance cash payment - a sign of dubious recruitment. Fake agencies have taken job seekers for a ride in the past by offering jobs in well-known private and government departments.


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