Modus operandi of Visa fraud: How victims get lured and defrauded

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Published: March 14, 2019 7:35:03 PM

Visa Fraud: Fake entities who are actually not in the business of visa services, lure individual with job offers, or typical immigration services. They misuse names of established agencies.

Visa fraud, Visa fraud in India, How to identify Visa fraud, Visa fraud companies, VFS Global, Vinay Malhotra, visa websites, visa service company, Vis service outsourcing, visa for Indians, Visa inquiry Visa processing organisations continually face the issue of scamsters posing as employees or associates of the organisation, and embezzling innocent applicants with false promises of jobs or immigration.

Alongside the year-on-year growth in travel abroad is typically an increase in complaints of ‘phishing’ scams relating to immigration or recruitment in overseas destinations. Several aspirants for jobs or immigration abroad remain susceptible to the threat of fraud.

Fraud entities who are actually not in the business of visa services, lure individual with job offers, or typical immigration services. They misuse names of established agencies.

This is how such fraudulent entities lure unsuspecting aspirants with the false promise of overseas settlement:

– Scamsters pose as fake employers or immigration agents offering jobs or immigration, falsely claiming to be from Visa service companies

– Scamsters use a spoof ‘email’ to impersonate heads or key departments of the company. Often the email is sent from an ID very similar to Visa websites and emails addresses (e.g. using vfsglobal-helpline.com, instead of vfshelpline.com)

– Software is used to clone Visa service company’s web page and mask phone numbers, so it appears that the call has indeed come from an official Visa company

– The victim is then asked to verify the number on an official-looking website or even to submit documents at an ‘office’, leading him/her to further believe the caller

– The call is backed by fabricated job offer letters and official-looking documentation sent via email

– To show acceptance of the job offer, or immigration opportunity, the email states that the applicant will have to make an upfront payment and share personal information, such as ID or bank details, to take things forward

Telltale Signs

You are possibly dealing with a scamster when:

1. You receive emails with job offer or immigration promises from fabricated email IDs via personal email accounts (Gmail, Yahoo, .co.in, etc.)

2. You receive a job offer from a company you have NOT applied to

3. You are asked to make advance payment to a personal bank account with the threat of visa application rejection or deportation, or loss of the job offer

4. You receive pixelated, out-of-proportion company logos on fabricated offer letters/ contracts

Commenting on the issue, Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group Chief Operating Officer – Middle East, South Asia, and China, VFS Global said, “Most often, there are telltale signs that a scam is taking place, and through news publications and social media, our effort is to educate people on how they can possibly spot these signs. We also urge citizens never to publish their passport or visa application numbers on public domain or on any social media platforms, since scamsters are constantly on the lookout for this.”

VFS Global, one of the leading visa processing oragnisations, says almost all complaints relating to fraud received from members of the general public were about false promises of immigration or job offers. Most of these complaints were for settlement in the countries of Australia, Canada, and UK (in alphabetical orders).

Visa processing organisations continually face the issue of scamsters posing as employees or associates of the organisation, and embezzling innocent applicants with false promises of jobs or immigration. VFS Global has issued a new list of measures to inform citizens about the fraudulent and criminal practices in regions where these scamsters are very active. In addition, through the Information Security teams, they investigate and take legal action against these criminals whenever and wherever possible.

Measures to keep the frauds in check have contributed to a decrease in complaints in 2018. They send messages at multiple touch points to warn applicants and make them aware of fraudulent entities.

These anti-fraud notifications appear on:
– Prompt replies to email complaints
– Fee receipts,
– Social media platforms,
– SMSes,
– Call centre voice messages,
– Press reports,
– Advertisements,
– VAC posters,
– Emailers to stakeholders,

Due to these measures, number of frauds in 2018 have seen a decline. There is 32 per cent decrease in phishing complaints in 2018 compared to 2017. Most complaints originated from residents in South Asia (mainly India), followed by Middle East.

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