Caution is the keyword for those seeking jobs online: Police

Mumbai: With technological advances faster than the blink of an eye, the internet has become netizens' best friend but it cannot be forgotten that it is pretty much a jungle and there are predators lurking at every turn, and online job fraud is one of their favourite pastimes. However, police say the trick in protecting oneself from such frauds is to simply keep one's eyes open and be wary of divulging details.

India's unemployment rate has almost doubled in the past two years, going up from 4 to 7.6 per cent in the last two years, while that of the educated unemployed is 13.17 per cent, suggests a report. As people visit online job portals in their quest, fraudsters strike, sensing the desperation of the job-seeker.

Police said, the modus operandi used by the fraudsters is to hold out the bait of gainful employment, for a 'nominal' fee. From promising jobs in defence forces and the railways to getting one placed in top IT companies such as Wipro, Infosys, Tech Mahindra and TCS, racketeers have spread their tentacles far and wide.

A senior cyberpolice officer said, "Newly-minted graduates, from one of the thousands of engineering colleges in small towns, are easily trapped. Their parents have invested Rs 4-5 lakh in their graduation and now want their children to earn money."

Explaining the con, an official said, first the job aspirant gets a call from a 'consultant', promising an opportunity to interview with a reputed IT company. Then the aspirant is asked to visit the office with original documents for an interview with a company representative. For this 'service', the consultant charges a hefty fee and gets the job offer letter. However, when the 'appointee' reaches the company office on the joining date, they are informed that the job offer was fake.

An officer said, the NCRB data provides an insight into a number of officially reported cases, but a large number of cases often go unreported. There could be several reasons, ranging from lack of awareness to innovations made by cybercriminals.

As cybercrime is on the rise, government bodies and other agencies have become more active to counter them and spread awareness among people. Maharashtra Cyber Police are now gearing up with the latest equipment and IT engineers, to track cybercriminals and keep tabs on their new tactics.

Recently, a company in Powai lodged a police complaint against unidentified people who had allegedly put out advertisements on a job search engine in its name and collected 'application fees' from job-seekers. The fraud came to light when one of the job aspirants contacted the company and informed them about the advertisement.

Policespeak: Most companies advertise new job positions on their official websites. So, instead of replying to dubious mails, it is best to visit the career page of the company and apply directly on the site. In case of online job portals, aspirants must ensure they are routing their resumes through the original site and not responding to a link provided in a mail. Most importantly, no employer seeks fees from a job-seeker at the hiring stage.

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