Fake job ads target those with SPM

KUALA LUMPUR: While there are many web advertisements with offers to "work while vacationing overseas", they are virtually always too good to be true.

Human traffickers now use phoney adverts as their latest modus operandi to prey on jobseekers, primarily Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia leavers, and exploit them into becoming scammers.

Victims who believe they would travel overseas on a three-month contract job are frequently trafficked to work as call-centre scammers.

Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Council (MAPO) division secretary Syuhaida Abdul Wahab Zen said they had rescued 266 out of 519 Malaysians abroad, who were victims of such syndicates.

She said 153 victims were still stranded abroad, with some of them held in detention centres and shelter homes.

"Normally they (syndicates) will recruit the victims using advertisements on social media.

"The advertisements would highlight the promising salaries and fully sponsored air tickets. Sometimes they would also say it is only for three months and people can go on a vacation and work at the same time.

"But they are actually fraud."

She added that victims included professionals who quit their jobs after getting "offers" from such syndicates.

"Before this, we could not have imagined Malaysians being trafficked abroad, but it is really happening.

"They are being trafficked abroad, they are forced to be scammers and they scam people in Malaysia."

Syuhaidah said rescuing victims was no easy feat as the government would need cooperation from the respective countries to release these individuals as most of the time they would have overstayed in the country.

"We highlighted this issue at the Asean Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Organised Crime, which Cambodia is the chair, and they responded positively, offering to work together to rescue our citizens and assist in investigations.

"We also receive support from other asylum states as well as dialogue partners from South Korea, Japan and China.

"We see that this is a trend but we do hope that the number of cases will decrease in time, especially now that people are aware of such scams."

She added that MAPO, as well as the Labour and Information Departments, were working together to raise awareness about such illicit activities, especially among people in remote areas, including in Sabah and Sarawak.

She called on Malaysians to seek the advice of the Labour Department should they receive any job offer overseas.

In February, it was reported that Malaysia is estimated to have suffered losses of up to RM500 million annually by overseas job scam syndicates.

Victims of such scams had said that the experience of falling prey to syndicates was akin to "a living hell".

They were badly treated and beaten, and some had also died.

Last month, Muhammad Izzat Abdul Wahab, 28, who was tricked by a job scam syndicate, died at an Immigration centre in Tachileik, Myanmar, two days after he was rescued by a non-governmental organisation.

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