Covid-19 ate your job up? Now fraudsters may swallow your savings

With the aviation sector hit badly by the Covid-induced lockdown and travel bans and many people losing their jobs, conmen have found a golden opportunity

Covid-19 ate your job up? Now fraudsters may swallow your savings
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A job seeker, Mallika Goyal, is exploring her legal options after she was duped by conmen on the pretext of a job as ground staff with a leading airline. She paid Rs 2,600 for the interview and was about to make payment of Rs 6,200 for document verification when she realised that she was in the trap of online job fraudsters.

As the aviation sector is limping back to normalcy after facing a major setback due to travel restrictions during the Covid-19 lockdown, con artists are exploiting this opportunity by making fake job portals and sending job alerts in the name of private airlines and airports.    

Delhi resident Goyal told Plane Vanilla that she is unemployed for quite a long time and in August she got a notification via email about a vacancy with a leading private airline.

“After sending my resume, I got a call for the first round of interview. I was asked to pay an amount of Rs 2,600 for the interview, which they said will be refunded. As everything sounded so professional I could not sense any foul play,” she said.

After clearing the interviews, she was told that she would have to make another payment of Rs 6,200 for the verification of documents submitted by her. It was during this time when she found several online complaints about airlines job fraud. “When I refused to pay, the caller blocked my call and changed his number,” she said.

Goyal is not alone as conmen are sending bulk messages and emails to jobseekers promising jobs in the aviation sector. Police claim that fraudsters have floated several fake websites through which they are fooling people.

Also read: Covid-19 busted your vacation? Here's how safe air travel in India is at the moment

The police in Delhi and other states have received many such complaints and have launched a crackdown against cybercriminals. As a result, earlier this month, the Delhi Police arrested three people, including a woman, who were running a fake job racket in the name of Air India.

Explaining the modus operandi, a senior Delhi Police officer said, “Criminals are advertising fake job vacancies on portals and Google and pay extra money to highlight them at the top of the search result. Their business runs on the principle of luring and trapping job seekers who lost jobs during the pandemic. They ask them to deposit money for interview, verification, offer letter, etc and finally stop taking their calls once the money is transferred.”

To appear genuine conmen make fake job letters and conduct interviews.

Similarly, in August a gang was busted and five people were arrested for duping job aspirants by offering employment at the Delhi airport.

Also read: 7 crippling problems Air India employees faced during Covid-19 battle

During their interrogation, the criminals confessed that they lured job seekers through various advertisements on social media. They also impersonated as senior officials in the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and tricked job aspirants into transferring money to various accounts after promising them placements at the Delhi airport and issuing fake appointment letters.

After receiving several such complaints, the AAI has clarified that it has not set up any agency or website to advertise job vacancies or accept any applications for recruitment. A senior officer said that all recruitments and vacancies in the AAI are notified in the AAI’s official website and in leading newspapers. He also said that only an application fee is payable at the time of online registration and no other payments are sought at any stages of recruitment.

IndiGo has mentioned on its website that it does not charge any money for interviews or recruitment. All communication related to offer letters is sent from official IndiGo email IDs only.

“Some fraudsters are using the name of SpiceJet Limited to solicit job applications and require the job seekers/applicants to pay processing fees or deposit amount by sending false emails or by making fraudulent telephone calls,” SpiceJet has mentioned in their website.

It has also advised job seekers that if any person receives any unsolicited or fraudulent communication offering a job or an interview call from SpiceJet Limited against payment of money, it is suggested that the job seeker does not to respond.

Similarly, national carrier Air India has said that it does not advise candidates to deposit any money in bank accounts as a processing fee or refundable security deposit etc. In case of any doubt, candidates may check the veracity of the recruitment process for such posts from the career page of the airline's official website.        

1. Do not pay any fee for interview registration, application process, uniform, etc.

2. Do not fall for an interview process that claims selection only after telephonic conversations without any face-to-face meeting.

3. Do not pay any fee for offer confirmation, any training charges or joining deposits.

4. Do not accept any offer or selection confirmation email on the basis of interviews only through the telephonic medium and without any face-to-face meeting.

5. Airlines do not send job offers from free email services like Gmail, Rediffmail, Yahoo mail, Hotmail, etc.