The automobile sector has been seeing increasing incidents of recruitment fraud in recent quarters, according to human resource personnel. Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and Bajaj Auto have noted a rise in these incidents.
"While a decade ago, these used to be isolated incidents of a handful of unsuspecting individuals being defrauded by miscreants, today, the scale at which fraudsters operate is a serious concern," a spokesman for Tata Motors, which has reported 200 such cases in the last two years, told Business Standard.
The way these individuals operate is distinct. Job-seekers are sent an email or an SMS wherein the name of a prominent auto company is used. These fraudsters ask for payment by cash or cheque to an account. They register domain IDs which sound similar to the ones used by organisations of repute, emailing thousands of unsuspecting job seekers, who could be fresh out of college or from Tier-II or Tier-III cities, or rural areas, inviting applications with security deposits.
"In one such case, a malefactor claiming to be an agent of the organisation met an innocent job seeker and demanded money for permanent appointment. The agent was never seen again by the job seeker. As incidence of fraud get more organised and established, fraudsters have progressed to using the names of company officials, making the entire experience of a job search so real and genuine. They have communication formats, too, to make them appear real, with the use of registered trademarks," said the Tata Motors spokesperson.
The Mumbai police's cyber crime branch has been tasked with an increasing number of such complaints. Besides, auto majors have taken steps on their own. Apart from creating general public awareness through newspaper insertions, Tata Motors, M&M and Bajaj Auto have also put prominent disclaimers on their websites. Job sites like naukri.com and monster.com have also alerted registered users to be aware of such fraud.
A disclaimer on the Bajaj Auto site reads, "It has been brought to our notice that certain individuals are receiving fraudulent emails, seemingly from Bajaj Auto, about job opportunities with our company. They are also asking candidates to deposit money in banks as part of the process. These emails are not sent by Bajaj Auto or any representative of Bajaj Auto. We have not authorised any agency to send such emails on our behalf. We never ask candidates to pay money as recruitment charges or any other fee for employment with the company."
Ashok Leylan's disclaimer on their website says: "We have received information from various quarters that in the past few days, there has been a string of email communication for job interviews with Ashok Leyland, while the Company has not made any such offers / announcements".
However, despite the awareness drive, the frauds continue. "Since these fraudsters operate in a clandestine manner, it is very difficult to nab them. While our company has complained to the police to deal with these cases, the people involved usually close the account and flee before the police can apprehend them," said Amrut Rath, vice president-human resources, Bajaj Auto.
"While we have zero tolerance to these issues, we have not had much luck as only a few people have been caught. These individuals use temporary accounts and disappear after duping people," said Neha Kharde, Senior General Manager-Group Human Resources, M&M.
HR experts said that job frauds have been in existence across industries. "A number of cases have been reported, not just in the auto business, but in the other group businesses as well. We have a Mahindra Group website which has dedicated segments for career and employment. Through that channel, we have witnessed records of fraud activity. People received offers from persons, who posed as a part of the Mahindra Group," said Kharde.
And no part of India is immune. While Delhi/NCR and Uttar Pradesh have reported the highest incidents of job fraud, areas like Andhra Pradesh are also not far behind. "Since the auto sector recruits people in bulk, people are usually fooled when big names are floated in the fraudulent recruitment schemes by con-men," said a New Delhi-based executive of a human resource consultancy.
- Job-seekers are sent an email or an SMS wherein the name of a prominent auto company is used
- Impostors register domain IDs which sound similar to the ones used by organisations of repute, emailing thousands of unsuspecting job-seekers, who could be fresh out of college or from rural areas, inviting applications with security deposits
- Fraudsters ask payment to be sent by cash or cheque to an account
- Fraudsters have progressed to using names of company officials, making the entire experience of a job search real and genuine