London: A gurdwara in the south-east England county of Kent has posted a scam alert warning on its website after it discovered that fraudsters had been impersonating the Sikh temple with fake job and visa offers for Indians.
The Sri Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara in Gravesend posted a copy of the scam advertisement with the words “Scam Alert” on its website and social media platforms, warning its promise of “Ticket Free, Visa Free, Food Free Job Alert” was fake. The ad, with the title “Urgently needed in the UK”, calls on males and females to get in contact via a WhatsApp number.
“Scam Alert: Do not use these services. This is not affiliated to Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara Gravesend,” the gurdwara’s warning said.
Gurdwara General Secretary, Jagdev Singh Virdee, told news outlet ‘Kent Online’ that they were alerted about the scam when a local worshipper inquired about it for a parent based in India earlier this month.
“Her father had been alerted to this ad and asked if it was a job, so she came to check whether it’s genuine or not, and that’s how we first found out about it,” Virdee was quoted as saying in the report.
Since then, around a dozen people have contacted the gurdwara to ask about the authenticity of the flyer, which has been circulating on the web. Some reportedly even went through the process of exchanging passport information and personal details.
“They’re faking letters as if it’s a job offer from the gurdwara, then they’re saying to them, ‘you’ve had the job offer now, so if you pay over so much money, then we’ll arrange a travel ticket and visa’. The fraudsters are telling people abroad we’ve got jobs here so they’re impersonating us. It amounts to immigration fraud and financial fraud,” Virdee warned.
The local Kent police and the nationwide Action Fraud network have been alerted to the scam.
“Officers have been in contact with representatives at the gurdwara and are investigating the circumstances,” a Kent Police spokesperson said.
The gurdwara prides itself as a place of worship on a unique scale, with its five elaborate domes and design inspired by the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
It includes hand-crafted marble and stonework, colourful interior tiling, and stained-glass windows. It is a famous local landmark and works with the community with many volunteering efforts.
An estimated 15,000 Sikhs live in the Gravesend and surrounding area, with strong family and friend ties in India.