Scams targeting seafarers in a hurry emerge, many fall victim

A scam has sprung up targeting seafarers desperate to get onboard and many have been cheated, according to a seafarers’ activist.

They target the seamen wishing to go abroad with fake certificates and since they are involved in illegal acts, the victims find it difficult to complain to the authorities, he said.

“The fraudsters promise to make fake certificates. For example, they make officer’s certificates for ordinary sailors. If you do not have a certificate, they create some completion certificates. Then they send PDF files to customers and ask for money. When a seaman has paid what they asked for, he hasn’t got any paper certificates. It is a scam and many people have been affected,” he explained.

The cost starts at K 1 – 1.5 lakh with prices varying.

“We want seafarers to go abroad with genuine certificates. If they use fake ones, they can’t even complain if they are cheated because they are complicit. Some have been cheated even at the stage of fake certificates without reaching the stage of paying brokerage,” he said.

In addition, there are other cheating incidents where seafarers are not actually recruited despite having paid agent fees.

“My son went abroad last August. There were four of them, including my son. After leaving the destination airport, they had to stay in a  hotel without being allowed to board the ship. They were unable to contact the agent here. We have filed a lawsuit claiming for more than K 10 million,” said the father of a victim.

Htet Oo Maung/ZN

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