Crooks have a field time preying on jobless


Desperate job-seekers lose money to cyber thieves

With the pandemic having rendered many people jobless, the job-seekers desperately put out all their details on portals hoping for employment and fall prey to cyber crooks.

Shwetha, a private school teacher, came to know of this bitter truth, as she was looking for a job as a teaching coordinator. She signed up to a portal to receive alerts for job opportunities but ended up losing Rs. 1 lakh, that she had kept aside for her children’s school fee.

The resident of HSR Layout, who stays with her husband and two children studying in classes 10 and 12, is distraught. “I opened an account with a well-established company and filled in my details and uploaded my resume with the hope of getting a job. Within a few minutes, I received a call from a person who claimed to be from the same portal. The person informed me that I had to pay Rs. 49 for registration only after which my resume would be visible,” she said.

The person asked her to complete the payment process through an alternate website which had ‘jobservice’ next to its original name. “The website looked genuine. It directed me to the payment mode and I filled in my debit card details along with CVV and OTP to complete the payment of Rs. 49, but Rs. 5,603 was debited,” she said.

She noticed nothing unusual during the transaction. “I called them on the same number and they told me that there was a technical error. They asked me to fill in the details again to receive the refund. The portal only asked me to share my debit card details and there was no amount mentioned in it. After I entered the OTP, the website started to hang and the person asked me to repeat this process. Within seconds, Rs.49,989 was deducted twice from my bank,” she said.

She said that she immediately contacted the company’s customer care helpline and was told that XXXXjobservice was not their website. “I had kept Rs. 1,10,000 in my account for my children’s school fee but Rs. 1,05,000 was gone. I immediately contacted 100 and they gave me a CIR but there has been no progress yet in my money coming back though it’s been over 10 days,” she said.

Sohail (name changed), a software engineer from Whitefield, also had a similar brutal experience. He lost Rs. 50,000 to cyber crooks who claimed that they were from a well-known IT company and offered him a job. Sohail told Bangalore Mirror that he was working in a startup company which shut down last year and since then he had been looking for jobs. “I received an email from a person who claimed to be working with an IT company and asked me to contact him if I was still looking for a job. I called him the next day and he told me that he had seen my resume in one of the job portals and asked me to attend an interview the next day,” he said. Just a few hours before the scheduled interview, he contacted Sohail again asking him if he had finished the registration process as it was an open interview. He sent Sohail a link which directed him to the online wallet and after he entered the pin to transfer Rs. 100, he got a notification that Rs. 30,000 was deducted. “I called him and he said it was a fault from their end and that he had sent the wrong link. He sent me a scanning code for refund and again Rs. 20,000 got debited from my account. I tried calling him back but his phone was switched off.”

According to the cyber crime police, due to the pandemic a lot of people have lost jobs and have been uploading their details along with their resume on job portals which are an open stage for anyone who is registered to play on. The crooks contact the needy directly. They lure them under different pretexts and ask them to pay some money in advance, which people should avoid, the police said.

What to do?

A senior officer said, “People should always verify the websites before uploading their details on it. Any online payment through unknown or unverified websites should be avoided. Crooks often send links to online wallets on their mobile phones which should not be encouraged. People should always ask for their landline numbers while interacting with any company or representative as most of the cyber crooks use mobile numbers which are easy to discard. No company will call for an interview and later ask to deposit money. And even if they do, one should physically visit the company once by noting down their address and get it confirmed before making any transaction. Any established company would prefer bank transactions and not online wallets which people should question if they get links on their phone.”

Cyber crime police say that job frauds are becoming more common and the police department is conducting several awareness programmes which includes digital posters, short films and even going live on social media to help people understand the new trends being picked up by the crooks.

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