Work Permit Scams
A Job Offer You Can’t Refuse
The personnel director at a multinational firm in Nigeria is looking for some intrepid, highly skilled people to do some difficult but well-compensated work in Nigeria.
Alternatively, the organizer of an entertainment event in Nigeria is looking for entertainers from the United States to perform at their events.
The Expected Payoff:
The employee stands to make at least $150,000 for six month’s work, plus overtime pay, and will stay in luxury accommodations free of charge. The entertainers make some quick cash, enjoy a free travel opportunity, and gain some valuable exposure.
The Financial Catch:
Even though all expenses are paid, the company will require the new employee to pay up-front certain fees related to work permits, visas, and immigration requirements from their own funds. Unfortunately, this multi-national corporation or music mogul cannot pay the $1,800 fees for the applicant. The employer can only be sure that the applicant is serious about the offer by having him pay the up-front fees out-of-pocket.
The Bottom Line:
This scam is customized to fit the specific victim, usually active job seekers. The scammers know the potential victims are seeking employment and tailor the scam to match the type of job for which the victim is searching.
The scammer either posts job notices on legitimate classified sites, or has submitted fake company listings on Internet job sites. In the case of entertainers, the scammer searches online for performers’ promotional websites. When they find a performer offering services, they craft a solicitation specifically for that entertainer’s specialty. Eventually, after the contract is drawn up, they begin to discuss the specific fees the applicant must pay before departing for their new job.
To check whether a business is legitimate, contact the Nigeria Desk Officer at the International Trade Administration, Room 3317, Dept. of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230. (Tel: 1-800-USA-TRADE or 202-482-5149, fax: 202-482-5198).
Victims of this scam should review our brochure on Resources for Victims of International Scams.
An e-mail string forwarded to U.S. Consulate General Lagos involving a performer and the “Work Permits” scam (messages edited for clarity; names are abbreviated; telephone numbers and e-mail addresses redacted)
Good day to you.
We are very happy to inform you that you have been short listed to perform in our annual federal festival concert taking place form March 2 to March 8 2005. I got to know about you through your promotional website. Henceforth, we will be very happy and grateful if you can make it to this big event. All expenses ranging from appearance fee, flight, hotel accommodation will be taken care if you make your intention of appearance known to us as soon as possible. Could you please clearly state your terms -- just name your price. I do hope to hear from you soon regarding this opportunity.
Chairman, Co-Ordination Committee – Federal Festival Concert
American Job Seeker:
I have asked my team for there (sic) availability and so far all looks good. We are four girls in all. Our pricing is as follows; for one performance we ask for $600.00 per dancer. Please note that the girls on my team are top dancers here in NYC and all are over the age of 21 and have passports. If possible could you send me a schedule of what is needed of us as well as where we would perform. We would also like some kind of proof of the event you are having just as a precaution. I hope you understand. We also would require a $1000 deposit a week prior to departure and payment to be paid on arrival. And also how would you be giving payment? By check or cash? I have the ability to take a credit card as well. I look forward to hearing from you and you are welcome to call me. Thank you for selecting us and I hope to hear from you soon.
Good day to you.
You will be lodged at Sheraton hotels (five stars). I will call you later in the day for further discussion.
Your work visas will be processed by our working committee. The officer in charge of processing of visas is Mr. A.J.E.
The visa fee per head is $250, making $1000 for the four of you. You need to send this through Western Union money transfer. Kindly scan and email me your passport’s photo page immediately for the processing.
The committee needs to know how committed and willing you are for the payment is a determinant/factor. This is a token change for the document processing and visa fees. After this the visas are processed, then we can send you your advance deposit. I am leaving my office now for an appointment. You can reach me on 234-XX-XXX-XXXX.
Message received by U.S. Consulate General Lagos from a “Work Permits” victim (names are abbreviated):
Dear Sir; I have been offered employment through the Nigeria National Petroleum Corp. in Nigeria. I have been offered $65,000 a month with $13,000 going to the government. The person I am in contact with is Prince O.J.. They want me to send them $800 to register with them. Are there any travel warnings about coming to work in Nigeria?
Unsolicited spam email initiating a work permit scam:
Hello, How is life over there? My Name Is Mr. M. B. I am very happy to mail you. Where do you reside? I am a staff of the United States Embassy. Have you had any working experience? If you're a graduate, then you can apply for the job offer from Exxon Mobil. Visit my family website on [genuine website of someone not related to the scam]. I'll be expecting the response as soon as possible.
If you receive this email, call me on 234.XXX.XXX.XXXX or mail me firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a nice day.
United States Embassy
Walter Carrington Crescent
Victoria Island, Lagos.
Fraudulent Nigerian work permit sent to “Work Permits” victim
OFFER OF APPOINTMENT
I received your mail. And just like you were been informed, your credentials has been forwarded to my desk as the Project coordinator of this Company, and the job has been offered to you as system analyst based on your C.V .
Now to further proceedings, I want to let you know that we would not be giving employees a telephone interview due to logistics. Also, I will like to let you know that employees MUST arrive Nigeria 1 week before resumption date for proper orientation. Once again, the management of O. Petroleum Company hereby wishes to present to you the following terms of job.
SALARY: Expatriates shall be entitled to a Net Salary of US$180,000.00 in six (6) months. This salary shall be paid monthly at US$30,000.00. Work time shall be 40 hours workweek for the job term. Any work performed beyond the normal 40 hrs a week, work time, shall be due for an overtime benefit to be paid at $300.00 per hour. The first monthly salary shall be paid before employee embarks on journey.
LODGING: First class accommodation will be provided.
TRAVEL: employer for each intercontinental trip shall pay US$3,000.00 flat rate travel/entertainment allowance, to employee.
Costs: Meanwhile I must get you informed that before you can resume work, you will need some necessary documents before you can be able to work here in Nigeria. You are liable to make charges of $850 usd for the procurement of your working papers which covers:
1, Administrative charges: $100usd
2, Diplomatic Courier charges: $150usd
3, Working Permit charges: $300usd
4, Residential Permit charges: $200usd
5, Hard copies of the terms: $100usd
You are to receive the hard copies of the contract terms and agreement and also your working and residential permit altogether, it will be delivered through diplomatic courier services (DHL) to your designated address.
If you agree with the conditions stated above, Please get back to me for further proceedings. I will lead you on how to facilitate the necessary documents.
Learn About Your Destination
Take precautions to avoid being a target of crime: Do not wear conspicuous clothing or jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of money. Do not leave unattended luggage in public areas or accept packages from strangers.