Con men are targeting people who have lost their jobs by e-mailing offers of high-paying work in the UAE. An e-mail being sent around the world claims to be from a barrister representing the International Tourism Group-Emirates Travels, based in Abu Dhabi. It touts unspecified but well-paid work and asks for US$1,270 (Dh4,700) in processing fees - which, it promises, will be refunded as soon as the paperwork has been approved.
Mohammed Fudzail is one of those who received the phoney job offer this month, and he is warning people not to respond. "Please be forewarned that it is a scam," he said. The e-mail follows the usual pattern of fee-advance scams, also known as 419 or Nigerian frauds. The "419" refers to the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with such frauds. These scams often involve offers of generous commissions in return for helping to get large sums of money out of African countries. People who respond are asked to pay modest processing fees to enable larger sums to be transferred - which, of course, they never are.
Following widespread publicity, the scammers have apparently modified their pitch. And because of its oil wealth, the UAE has become one of the nations they often use to entice would-be victims. Joe Wein, a software developer and campaigner against spam and 419 fraud, has compiled a list of more than 30 fictitious UAE names, titles and addresses that have been used by scammers whose frauds include fake job offers, fictitious lottery wins and concocted claims of unpaid contractors.
Mr Fudzail's fraudulent UAE job offer asked him to forward $180 for a visa processing fee, $250 for a work permit fee, $240 for a visa courier dispatch fee, $320 for a residence permit fee and $280 for "release documents", totalling $1,270. email@example.com