VFS Global has urged travel agents to be aware of fake visa and immigration scam by fraudsters posing as VFS employees. In recent months, VFS Global that partners with 52 client governments worldwide to provide visa services has been faced with a vexing problem. A small but significant number of people who have applied for visas to various countries have been getting calls from fraudsters posing as company employees, giving them false promises of job or immigration prospects abroad.
Vinay Malhotra, COO – Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global, reveals, “There have been instances when the initial phone call supposedly from VFS Global would be followed up by official-looking employment offer letters and other documents, sent by email. In acceptance of the job or immigration offer, the visa applicants would be asked to deposit huge sums of money to a bank account, details of which could be found in the letter.”
Investigations into the matter have pointed to misuse of technology, where fraudsters zero in on easy victims. Unfortunately, some unsuspecting visa applicants, raring to start life anew in a foreign locale, have readily parted with the amount. With an increase in the number of instances of such fraudulent operations taking place, misusing the name of VFS Global, the company has begun to take proactive measures to warn applicants of this menace. Malhotra says, “Through our call centres, SMS alerts, website updates, emails etc, we are sending out messages that no personnel or representative from VFS Global is authorised to guarantee a job or immigration to applicants in any of the client countries. Also, VFS Global has categorically stated that applicants should not make upfront payments and refrain from giving out personal information to anybody. They should also avoid publishing their passport number or visa application number on public domains or social media platforms.”