Fraudsters get more sophisticated with each passing year as they prey on the vulnerability of people, particularly those who are desperate for lady luck to look their way. From bogus job advertisements to sham work and student visas, the methods scammers employ seem to get smarter in order to appear convincing. The methods often mirror authentic information to lure hopefuls in handing over money or personal details that provide access to their bank accounts.
According to official statistics released by the Employment minister, as much as 10 percent of jobseekers have become victims of job scams, handing over around £500 to fraudsters. These victims are cheated out of their money in various ways, such as non-existent checks (usually required as part of a genuine recruitment process) and phoning in for an interview to a premium rate phone line.
Migrant workers and international students who depend on their visa status to remain legally in the UK make up another large group of victims who are preyed upon by scammers pretending to represent a legitimate official organisation such as the Home Office to part with their hard earned money.
The Gov.uk website page on UK visas and immigration details ways individuals can protect themselves from being scammed. Some of the guidelines offered are as follows:
- Always be suspicious if the offer seems too good to be true.
- Be on the lookout for anyone asking for money to be paid to them directly. It must be noted that official organisations will not contact individuals for their bank account details or other confidential information such as credit card information.
- Be wary of anyone coercing you to act immediately or face seemingly serious consequences.
- Should an individual suspect they have been targeted by fraudsters, they should report the incident to an authority organisation as soon as possible. Anyone who has been falsely accused of an immigration offence needs to get hold of a fraud solicitor for reliable and professional representation.
Types of common scams that target the vulnerable
The criminals behind these scams can be surprisingly convincing in their efforts to seem genuine to unsuspecting victims. These visa scams can take the form of either detailing a problem with the victim’s application for a particular visa or a supposed easy way to acquire a visa that can be a cumbersome process going through official routes.
Visa fraudsters will use any trick in the book to appear convincing including using language (verbal and written) that sounds official, knowing personal information about the potential victim such as where they live or knowing that they are in the visa application process. Scammers even send out emails from email addresses (that may at first appear authentic but on closer examination, are false).
Other recruitment-specific scams include paying for fake online training courses, insurance and include the too-good-to-be true work-from-home con that draws victims into money laundering.
While the methods utilised by fraudsters are varied, there remains one common goal, to provoke people into handing over money or personal information. For migrant workers or prospective students who are not willing to hand money over, are threatened with dire consequences including deportation.
ABV Solicitors have a well-experienced team of highly qualified solicitors proficient in dealing with all types of fraud offences including immigration fraud.