With real employment offers hard to come by in a tough job market, fraudsters are out making bogus offers in the name of big corporate entities, including state-run power major NTPC.
While these entities, which also include private sector IT major HCL Technologies and even a central government agency under the Ministry of Agriculture, are putting up their guard after coming to know about such frauds, many job seekers are said to have been duped by fraudsters who demand some security money in lieu of employment.
After realising that some fraudsters are trying to dupe job seekers in its name, power major NTPC has clarified that it 'has not authorised any agency or firm for recruiting candidates.'
'It has come to our notice that some unscrupulous individuals/recruitment organisations are trying to dupe prospective candidate seeking employment opportunities in NTPC by sending e-mails for depositing money in some account in some specified banks,' NTPC said in a public statement.
The company has also said that such incidents should be reported to it or the police so that imposters claiming to be NTPC representatives could be taken to task.
In a similar case, HCL Tech too found out that unscrupulous individuals/placement agencies enticing candidates with job opportunities at HCL for a fee.
When contacted, HCL Technologies senior vice president and HR head (India operations) Ravi Shankar said, "Our website has a special section on fraudulent recruiters under 'careers' segment. This section not only warns job aspirants about unscrupulous individuals/placement agencies but also clearly mentions how these frauds can be identified."
"Candidates seeking employment with HCL need to be cautious and must not trust agencies or individuals claiming to be HCL representative and charging fees for providing the opportunity."
"HCL wishes to state that the company has never charged money for recruiting candidates nor does the company have an authorised agency or firm for recruiting candidates," it said. Shankar noted that such mails often have broken English and grammatical mistakes.
"We are also asking industry bodies to create a campaign on this at the industry level. We aim to warn aspirants, especially from tier-2 and tier-3 cities with less access to information and who are more likely to fall prey against such possible traps," he added.
The modus operandi of these fraudsters are generally similar, wherein they get the details about their targets from the job websites and then send them job offers, disguising themselves either as the companies or their representatives.
Internet security firm Trend Micro recently found hackers are attacking corporate job sites and also setting up fake ones for collecting applicants' personal information.
"Continued rising unemployment has led more people to apply online for jobs, both through online job aggregators and individual corporate sites, thus turning the job portals into a gold mine for collecting personal data," Trend Micro product marketing manager (APEC) Abhinav Karnwal said.
Some of them are said to be even conducting interviews to make them appear authentic and in the last stage of their fraud, they ask for some fees or security payments before making the final employment offer.
In the process, they forge their email addresses to make them appear as those of some big companies.
In the wake of a spurt in such frauds, job portals like Naukri.com are also cautioning aspiring candidates against fraudulent recruiters.
"Regrettably, sometimes, false job postings are listed online, and non-existing job offers are sent via email to illegally collect personal information and/or money from unsuspecting job seekers," Naukri.com said, adding that it promptly acts after getting complaints about such issues.
Claiming to be the Ministry of Agriculture's research arm, an organisation by the name of Central Agricultural Research Centre (CARC) went to the extent of conducting an entrance test after advertising job openings and announced results on its website, which had pictures of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.
However, the fraudulent activity later caught the eyes of the actual research arm of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).