Abu Dhabi: An Abu-Dhabi based Indian expat lost over 44,000 dirhams ($11,978) to scammers, who he thought were providing legitimate help for him to secure a job in Canada, it was reported.
The fraud was carried out using high-profile names of the High Commissioner of India in Canada, High Commissioner of Canada in India and a top immigration attorney based in Canada, the Khaleej Times said in a report on Wednesday.
Ritesh Mishra, the victim, wants the perpetrators to be brought behind bars.
"I have been working here for seven years. Seeking a change, I opted for Canada. In June 2019, I followed a verified Facebook page of then High Commissioner of India in Canada Vikas Swarup and left a message with my contact details.
"After few days, Swarup responded and asked me to contact BICC immigration consultancy and High Commissioner of Canada in India Nadir Patel. I followed Patel's Facebook pages and wrote a note. Later, Patel contacted through an Indian mobile number on WhatsApp and assured help with visa application process. He gave the contact details of Davidson McIlwraith, an immigration attorney based in Canada, and asked me to follow his advice," he said.
Mishra then landed a job offer by August.
"McIlwraith arranged a phone interview with Air Canada. In September, McIlwraith sent me an offer letter. There was another letter claiming that Air Canada has authorised McIlwraith to complete all formalities for my immigration."
In October, he checked the authenticity of the offer letter through the Twitter page of 'Canada in India (High Commission of Canada)', which was confirmed as genuine.
"Then McIlwraith asked me to open a bank account in Canada to show I have access to funds needed to look after my family on arriving there. He asked me to transfer Rs 375,000 to him to open the account. I transferred it. I received a mail from Scotia Bank stating an account has been opened and cash was deposited in it."
Between October and November, Mishra had to transfer over Rs 475,000 to a bank account in India.
"Patel asked me to transfer Rs 169,900 for income tax record, Rs 160,881 as visa stamp fee and Rs 145,000 for educational credentials assessment. I transferred full amount and received an invitation mail to stamp my visa. I went to the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi to submit my passport but was told that invite was fake and there was no application in my name... It was a well-planned trap and those Facebook pages were fake."
The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi is following up the matter with the concerned authorities.
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