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'Job offer' from BBC in your mailbox? Beware!


Shoaib Ahmed,CNN-IBN
Jun 17, 2008 at 10:59pm IST

Mumbai: If you are among those who harbour the dream of being called a BBC journalist, beware of cyber cons.

A CNN-IBN investigation reveals how an online gang of cheats is robbing people of their money by making false promises of a job in the BBC.

It must be clarified that the media organisation has nothing to do with the racket, only it's name is being used as a front to dupe many job-seekers.

The investigation team tracked the fraudster's e-mail to Brookmans Park in the UK.

The modus operandi

The fraudster first gets access to several jobsites' database posing as an employer.

Then, a certain Scot Parker sends out an e-mail detailing various “vacancies in the BBC” to the chosen victim.

The e-mail asks the candidate for an updated resume along with a copy of the passport within 24 hours.

The fraudster sends a detailed questionnaire and follows it up with a telephone call and an e-mail directing the job seeker to pay the visa facilitation charges of Rs 68,000 to avoid cancellation of the job offer.

The mail – purportedly sent on behalf of one Barrister Steven Mark, a legal expert in the UK – asks the applicant to remit 850 pounds as visa facilitation charges in a bank account number provided by a certain Dr James Bell.

He claims the money will be reimbursed by the BBC.

It's not just money that one might lose, there’s the very real threat of misuse of personal information. The fraudster could:

  • Steal money from your bank account
  • Launder stolen funds in fake accounts created in your name
  • Misuse your passport while plotting terror activities.

What’s worse, it’s very tough to locate the fraudster. Cyber crime expert, ASCL, Gokul Narayanm says, “It is highly optimistic to think of nabbing a culprit located outside India.”

However, online job sites refuse to take responsibility of such misuse of data. “We do have our safety measures but job seekers have to be careful while they apply for jobs,” says Mumbai head, naukri.com, Arif Parker.

Meanwhile, the BBC has initiated a probe into the racket after CNN-IBN provided them the details. "I can assure you that the BBC will investigate thoroughly and action will be taken,” says BBC Information Department head, David Stuart.

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