independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Worker conned out of €4,000 in oil rig job scam

Damien Glynn in Galway yesterday

A man who thought he'd secured his dream job abroad was left shattered to discover it was all a scam – which cost him €4,000.

Damien Glynn (32), from Oranmore in Co Galway, is warning others to beware after he discovered he had been the victim of a sophisticated fraud.

He had forked out €4,000, given up his job in Ireland and travelled over to Scotland to start his new post on an oil rig when he realised it was a con.

The scam uses information from established companies to offer jobs before conning their victims out of thousands.

It involves fake certificates from the Metropolitan Police, the UK Border Agency, a reputable gas and oil company, and an insurance firm and has already hit dozens of unsuspecting workers.

Mr Glynn, an engineer, had recently retrained to work on offshore rigs for the oil and gas industry when he was targeted. He was offered a post following an in-depth online interview and made arrangements to move to Aberdeen.

In order to secure the post, Mr Glynn was told he had to deal with an "immigration lawyer" to obtain the necessary work documents and an insurance company to receive travel insurance cover.

"I had googled the company and all the details stacked up, right down to the managing director's details," he said.

"The interview questionnaire was very detailed and very much linked to the work I'd be doing. It took four hours to fill out. After they got back to me with an offer, there was a lot of back and forth – up to 50 emails sorting things out.

PERMIT

"I didn't understand why I needed the work permit but it was offshore work so I just went with it. I guess I just wanted to believe it too much."

After forking out £960 for insurance and £815 for a work permit, which came to €2,300, Damien made arrangements to travel to Scotland to take up the post. But he then had to fork out twice for flights after the scam artists cancelled the first meeting at the last minute.

"I left my job in Galway and was arranging to meet with the company director in Scotland. He put me off for a week saying he was away, but I know now the money hadn't gone through at that stage. I booked new flights but once they had the money I couldn't reach them.

"I had flights booked so I went over anyway but when I arrived at the offices in Aberdeen I knew it was a scam. The receptionist knew what had happened as soon as I spoke to her and said there had been a few in that week," he said.

Police in the UK and gardai have been made aware of the scam by the victims and the reputable firms whose logos have been used. However, they say that it is virtually impossible to track down such scam artists who close up within weeks and start up new scams.

Mr Glynn has now returned to Galway and managed to go back to his old job. He is urging others to be vigilant.

By Caroline Crawford

Irish Independent

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