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Mumbai: Scammed! Young man’s overseas job turns into nightmare

Updated on: 25 April,2024 07:03 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Faisal Tandel |

After paying R1.25L, he went to Southeast Asia only to learn of fraud

Mumbai: Scammed! Young man’s overseas job turns into nightmare

The office in Vietnam where unethical activities were allegedly carried out

A 25-year-old man, Mohammed Yusuf Ansari, from Sonapur in Bhandup, fell victim to a fraudulent deal. He was sent to the Vietnam border under the pretext of a job and was asked to engage in fraudulent activities across the country. Suspecting something was wrong, Yusuf ran away from the place and reached Mumbai with the help of family and friends. Yusuf shares his story about the journey from Mumbai to Cambodia and Vietnam back to Mumbai.

Yusuf, who completed his college in Mulund, lent a hand at his father's paan shop after his father's passing. “In May 2023, my father passed away, leaving me to support the family and manage the shop. Despite the financial strain, I remained vigilant for opportunities,” Yusuf said.

In February, Yusuf's friend introduced him to Asif Shaikh, an agent from Mira Road. “Asif promised me a job in Cambodia's casino industry for data entry paying a salary ranging from 800 to 1,200 dollars, which is almost R65,000 to R1 lakh. Upon receiving the job offer, I paid him Rs 5,000 to proceed,” Yusuf said.

Mohammed Yusuf Ansari showing his passport in Mumbai. Pic/Atul KambleMohammed Yusuf Ansari showing his passport in Mumbai. Pic/Atul Kamble

“On March 1, Asif sent me a visa to Vietnam. Upon checking the visa, I found it was a visit visa, I questioned him, and he assured me it was for travel only. Believing him, I paid R1.20 lakh for the process. On March 4, I made the payment, and on March 6, he sent me a ticket from Kolkata to Vietnam. Despite initial assurances of a group from Mumbai, I became suspicious when he sent a Kolkata ticket. He claimed it was due to high demand, and I reluctantly accepted. Arranging a flight to Kolkata, I reached the airport,” Yusuf said.

Upon reaching Kolkata, Asif demanded 400 dollars for processing his journey abroad. After Yusuf arranged the cash, Asif presented him with an agreement outlining his job profile as data entry in a casino. Despite previous assurances of travelling companions, Yusuf embarked on his flight to Vietnam alone. Upon landing, he was escorted to Ho Chi Minh City and subsequently to Mien Tay to Ha Tien, situated near the Cambodian border. There, an immigration officer insisted on a payment of 300 dollars for a single-entry visa. In a separate office, Yusuf received a briefing on a deceitful scheme involving the manipulation of individuals for financial gain. Yusuf, finding this practice unethical, promptly refused to participate.

“They interviewed me and explained the job. They told me about a target, where each person is given a lead, including a person’s mobile number and their Facebook and Telegram profiles. We were supposed to keep them updated and emotionally manipulate them. Once we found a weak point, we were to convince them to invest and swindle a large amount from them. I objected, saying it was cheating and that I couldn't do it. So, they left for some discussion,” said Yusuf.

Asif Shaikh, the agent and Yusuf Ansari,  the victimAsif Shaikh, the agent and Yusuf Ansari,  the victim

They mentioned that the office had 300 to 500 individuals, including some Indians involved in the scam. “Seeing some Indians, I approached them. However, before I could start a conversation, they left abruptly, which surprised and scared me. After a while, we took a taxi to another place. Getting a hotspot from the driver, I contacted my family friend who was in Cambodia. He shared his address and asked me to come to his place. I left the place, but they followed, eventually taking over my passport and assaulting me. They claimed that since they were shifting me to a new office, I shouldn’t have taken the wrong way. However, during the discussion, I overheard that the border could be crossed at night. So, I waited in a guest house for a night. Then, when everyone left, I took action,” he added.

Ansari first called his family friend Javed, who suggested he leave the place. “As soon as I left, the receptionist informed the agent, who asked me to wait. I ran for almost two kilometres and hailed an auto-rickshaw. Then, I received a call from a person claiming to be a manager, speaking in Hindi, asking why I was ruining my career. However, I asked him to send my passport, which he denied. After reaching Javed’s place, he started contacting the Indian embassy, complaining about the scam,” he said.

After contacting the embassy, they discovered the immigration officer’s involvement with the scammers. “The immigration officer received a share in dollars for facilitating the scam,” Yusuf explained. Despite numerous calls and complaints by Javed, authorities demanded 1,200 dollars for Yusuf’s passport. After payment, he retrieved his passport within three days and safely returned to Mumbai in late March. “When my parents went to the Bhandup police station to file a complaint but couldn't get a proper response. They said, ‘He is abroad; what can we do?’” added Ansari.

Asif Shaikh said, “Just ask him whether he worked in the firm at least for a day. It was a good job. I am a licence-holder agent. I have sent many people abroad. It was not a scam.” 

However, mid-day contacted another person, Sohel Alam, who claims they have five offices across India. When asked about the Yusuf Ansari situation, he denied 
sending any youth abroad and cut the call. 

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