SCAM = Stealthy contracts attracting migrants.
SCAM = Swindle, cheat and manipulate.
Somebody went through a lot of trouble to design the letterhead imaged in our header picture. It reached us (circuitously) from a prospective migrant worker in India who took a picture of the document using his mobile phone. Click the thumbnail at right to bring up the full photo. No foreigner is likely to see anything suspicious about it. It has a nice logo, it includes various registration numbers, it even has a bar code. Even some Singaporeans may not see anything wrong with it. Ours is a big city and none of us would be able to know all the hotels, or have an exhaustive list of street names. There are innumerable hotels in Singapore. Who is to know that Golden Leaf Hotel isn’t one?
It was a client of TWC2 — this guy was in Singapore with an ongoing case — who sent the photo to us. He apparently got it from someone he knew back home who was looking for work in Singapore. This someone — his name has been redacted so that he doesn’t get beaten up when we expose the scam, but let’s call him Oscar anyway — was asking our client whether this Golden Leaf Hotel could be trusted as an employer. Our client, knowing nothing about hotels, then asked us.
We were appalled to see it. The road name didn’t exist; “Jalan Koepp Quay” would be a rather weird construction of a name anyway. The postcode was invalid as was the phone number. The string of numbers purported to be “REGD No” and “SBN No” did not look like any kind of registration number we knew.
We quickly sent word back that it was fake. Oscar was fortunate in that he had not yet paid any money, though a fee of about S$200 had been asked. Oscar was about to travel to a different city in India, as instructed by the recruiter, for a medical check-up, but he (wisely) thought that before he spent time and money travelling, he should first try to verify the job offer.
The fancy letterhead is the least of it. When we typed “www.thegoldenleafhotel-sg.com” we were somewhat amazed to see an elaborate website. Expecting it to be taken down after we expose this scam, we have taken a number of screen captures of it.
Debbie Fordyce, TWC2 president, even tried to book a room, but it didn’t work. We also tried to download its Dining Menu, but it yielded an empty page.
We reported this to the Ministry of Manpower for them to investigate. However, it is possible that the entire operation was located in India.
Meanwhile, how many other people, we wonder, are falling for this scam?