x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Doctor almost duped by online job scam

A UK-based doctor was almost the victim of an online job scam after applying for what he thought was a high-paying position at Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi.

DUBAI // Online fraudsters tried to persuade a doctor to pay more than Dh5,000 to process the offer of a lucrative job at a hospital in Abu Dhabi.

The doctor, who works in the UK, thought the Dh100,000-a-month salary plus a car and an apartment might be too good to be true. He was right.

The man, who has asked not to be identified, sent his CV to an email address on the careers page of the Mafraq Hospital website. A reply came from a different email address.

The doctor became suspicious when he was asked to send a number of small amounts of cash, such as US$200 for “entry clearance” and $400 for “release documents”, totalling Dh5,325.

“I showed it to a friend and he said it was a definite scam,” said the doctor, who sent no money. “I suppose I was just stupid not to read it carefully at first. Looking back at it now, I can tell it’s not a genuine HR department.”

The doctor said he had been impressed by the initial job offer’s salary and extras. “I thought it was great, especially given that it was tax free. I did have a slight worry, though, that it appeared to be too good to be true. I knew doctors earned a lot in the UAE, but I didn’t realise it was that much.”

He emailed a copy of his passport to the recruitment agent, Emirates Travels Management. The company’s website claims it is a member of National Holding in Abu Dhabi, but National Holding says it is not affiliated with a company of that name.

Emirates Travels Management did not answer calls to the mobile number listed on its website.

The address to which the doctor emailed his CV – doctorsjobs@mafraqhospital.ae – remains on the Mafraq Hospital website.

Fadi Aloul, an associate professor of computer science at the American University of Sharjah, said it was not necessarily the case that Mafraq’s email account had been hacked.

“It could be the job applicant’s own computer had been hacked and the hackers noticed that he had sent an email to Mafraq Hospital,” he said. “Then they replied from a different email address with a fake job offer.”

Mafraq Hospital issued a statement last year warning job seekers about a scam in which candidates are asked to pay a fee to cover application costs.

“As a provider of health care, the trust of our patients, our employees and the community are of paramount importance to us,” said Abdulla Al Dhaheri, the hospital’s chief human resources officer.

“This type of fraud, where those actively seeking employment and opportunity are being exploited, is something we find absolutely reprehensible. We are angry that these fraudsters are trading on the reputation of our hospital, which we have built over three decades.

“The authorities have been alerted and are working hard to find and prosecute those responsible.”

Mr Al Dhaheri said job seekers should thoroughly check the authenticity of offers and be suspicious of anyone who asked for advance payment.

“I would like to take this opportunity to remind those looking for work in the health sector that Mafraq Hospital, and indeed any reputable institution, would never ask for an advance payment from a prospective employee,” he said.

The hospital said anyone who had a query about a job offer they had received should contact recruitment@mafraqhospital.ae.

mcroucher@thenational.ae