Offshore oil and gas workers looking for jobs in Britain are warned to watch out for scam websites.
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The fraudsters are offering non-existent training courses purporting to give expat workers the necessary qualifications for working on North Sea rigs.
Thousands of international workers are attracted by high salaries to jobs in the UK oil and gas industry.
One of the scammers is First Oil Energy, a company claiming to be at the forefront of the oil and gas industry based on an industrial estate in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Aberdeen is the onshore gateway to Scotland’s offshore oil and gas fields where many leading companies in the sector are based.
First Oil Energy offered bogus online training courses for potential job seekers for a price.
One con victim paid several hundred pounds to sign up for the course. The fraudsters then contacted him and claimed the online fee was too low and asked for more than £1,000 if he wanted to complete the course.
The crooks promised a highly-paid job if the course was completed and passed.
The victim turned down the offer and asked for his money back – which was not forthcoming.
Aberdeen Trading Standards were contacted and investigated.
They found several companies offering online training at a cost of more than £1,000, but the bogus companies had no jobs to offer and making their money from the scam not by providing oil and gas jobs.
The web site pages were cloned from legitimate companies.
“We want to warn anyone looking for a job in the offshore oil and gas sector to check out recruitment firms carefully,” said a trading standards spokesman.
Checking for rogue firms
“It’s obvious these companies are raking in thousands of pounds from this scam and the victims have little or no chance of getting their money back.”
Trading standards warns that most of the companies had set up their websites in the past few weeks and a simple online ‘whois’ check can identify possible suspected scammers.
“A whois check gives information about when the domain name was registered and who owns the rights to the name,” said the spokesman.
“If the registration is recent, we are warning job candidates to carry out more checks to see if the company is legitimate before parting with any money.”
Reputable course providers are listed on the OPITO website – an official industry training portal.
Job seekers can carry out a whois check by putting the domain name into a search box on the on whoischeck website.
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