MORAY OFFSHORE WORKERS are being warned to be wary of a jobs scam that has grown as a downturn in the industry leaves more finding themselves out of work.
Industry leaders say that it has always been the case where money is to be made, scam artists will be found – and offshore industry workers are the latest to learn that the hard way.
Bogus ‘agencies’ have been advertising through online job sites for offshore workers, promising interviews and often even taking unwary applicants through an application and interview process – at the end of which they set a ‘start date’ and finally ask for required personal details such as passport, clothing sizes and bank account details into which their salary would be paid.
Alas, no job exists, the legitimate looking agency disappears – and all too often so do funds from their victims’ bank accounts.
Similar scams have been in operation for some time but the recent downturn in the North Sea has seen an increasing number reappear in recent months. Industry body Oil and Gas UK say that they are aware of such scams and urge offshore workers to protect themselves by never sending money and never disclosing personal information.
“Oil & Gas UK monitors this activity and takes action, wherever possible, by contacting law enforcement agencies and actively removing offending material,” a statement on their website said, adding: “It is extremely difficult to locate those instigating these scams – particularly due to the increased use of social media tools in perpetrating such crimes.”
A Moray offshore worker who did not wish to be named told insideMoray: “I was almost taken in by one of these scammers – it all seemed so plausible, right up to the interview over the telephone by a guy who appeared to know a great deal about the industry and type of work I was seeking.
“I did, however, become suspicious when he asked for bank details but would not accept my saying that I would be happy to provide those in person but not via email or over the telephone.
“I then saw a post from another guy I knew in the industry who had a similar experience – and that led to a number of others who responded that they, too, had been approached.
“This is quite clearly a concerted attempt to fool people in the industry who are currently desperate to find work, these scammers are despicable.”