SUNBIZ

Fraud Warning For Seafarers

Seafarers in Fiji and around the world are being warned on scams by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). ITF press and editorial manager Sam Dawson raised the issue in
06 May 2015 09:18
Fraud Warning For Seafarers

Seafarers in Fiji and around the world are being warned on scams by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

ITF press and editorial manager Sam Dawson raised the issue in one of the ITF Seafarers Bulletins warning the would-be recruits to watch out for scams whereby they tend to lose money to fake recruiting agencies.

He said they have received many messages from seafarers across the world to check out supposed job offers and they have been able to prevent people from losing their money.

In one particular case, Mr Dawson said one had already sent $750 Euros as agent fee to a company in Nigeria for the offered job position and they were in time to stop him from sending the further US$2500 he had been told he needed to pay to the Nigerian government in order to get permission to work.

“That applicant had lost his cash. The ship he hoped to join didn’t exist. Nor did the recruitment agency and the premises where it was supposedly based were really a pet shop.”

He said it is typical that once you pay a scammer, the demand never stops.

“Send money for registration and they ask for more for a visa.

Scrape together the cash for that and they will come back to you for money towards air fare or a medical inspection or a job finder’s fee, always with a warning if you don’t make this one last contribution you’ll lose what you have already paid.”

“The poorer, the more desperate you are the more they like it.”

Mr Dawson has warned seafarers not to send money for a job at sea.

“You should never be asked to international maritime conventions, prohibit the charging of fees to seafarers in return for finding a job because employers with great, well paid jobs to offer don’t need to send emails out at random to fill,” he said.

The same need for caution, he said, applies to jobs via supposed shipping or recruitment websites.

“The fraudsters are relentlessly copying genuine sites, even cut and pasting advice on how to avoid scams, and inviting applicants to send that ‘one-off’ first fee via bank transfer, Western Union or MoneyGram.

They also post fake jobs on real but free-to-use websites.”

Mr Dawson revealed that many current frauds are linked to Nigeria, some to Ghana and Malaysia with Eastern Europe, a major growth area.

He warned that a well organized scam always run from Nigeria and they are always disguising the fact that by claiming to be a legitimate company based in the UK, the USA, Australia or Canada.

He said the easiest first step before one can apply for any job is to run the company name through Google, adding the word “scam’, then ‘fraud’, then ‘warning’.

They should also check with others including the check details, visit the forums and websites that share advice and information.

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