Jobseeker conned out of $100,000

November 17, 2023
A portrayal of a woman overwhelmed by despair. A portrayal of a woman overwhelmed by despair.
A portrayal of a woman overwhelmed by despair. A portrayal of a woman overwhelmed by despair.

A 25-year-old Jamaican woman striving for a better life claims she fell victim to a heartless job recruitment scam, leaving her high and dry with a loss exceeding $100,000.

The victim, Ann*, shared that she bailed out all her savings and paid it over to the agency, which promised to provide her with a job in the Cayman Islands. All she needed to do was to pay agency, processing and visa fees, as well as airfare.

Ann, who currently works as a housekeeper, told THE WEEKEND STAR that she harboured hopes of working as a hotel receptionist in the Cayman Islands.

"It was very exciting because we all know that Cayman's currency is stronger that the US, and even if it was the USA, then I would be happy just the same for the opportunity," she said.

However, after nearly three months of trying to contact the agency, without success, Ann has resigned herself to the reality that she has been scammed.

"I'm really not angry enuh, I'm not even angry at them ...I'm just frustrated," she said.

The name of the job placement agency has been withheld, as this newspaper has been unable to independently verify the claims made by Ann. Several calls to a phone number listed on a social media account said to be associated with the job placement agency, have gone unanswered. At the same time, a check of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security's website indicates that the company is not listed among the approved agencies to place persons in jobs overseas. The list was last updated in 2018, and the website has a notation that indicates the list is subject to change on a monthly basis.

In relating her heart-wrenching story, Ann said the agency furnished her with a phony work permit and scheduled a flight for her departure on August 28. However, days before take-off, the agency dropped the bombshell - the flight was postponed. Fast-forward nearly three months, and her calls are met with silence, and a rescheduled flight is nowhere in sight.

Contacted for comment on the matter, Dennis Brooks, senior communications strategist with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), warns jobseekers to stay vigilant. He said that scams of this nature seek to take advantage of the desperation felt by jobseekers.

"These scammers are playing on people's willingness to work and their need for a job, which is most unfortunate," Brooks expressed. He urged Jamaicans to scrutinise agencies, emphasising the importance of researching URLs and email addresses.

"Go and do your research before you hand over your hard-earned money to these people. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is," he cautioned.

In the meantime, Ann said that although she has been badly burnt, she is determined to bounce back from the setback.

"This is my first time going about this and signing up with an agency. I've made attempts, though, and each time I've made attempts to other companies, they're always full," she said.

* Name changed to protect identity.

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