Maid alert: Are u looking for a help online? Beware of fake placement agencies

New Delhi: Hiring a domestic help through an online classified website, beware! A large number of domestic help placement agencies that advertise on leading digital classified portals are run by scamsters.

The revelation came after a team of Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force busted a gang of crooks who duped people on the pretext of supplying domestic help through their placement agency. The gang is suspected to have cheated thousands of people as they have close to 100 domestic help agencies working for them.

According to the police, the gang would employ women accomplice as help at a house, collect payments and then escape in a day or two. They also made accounts on Quikr, Sulekha and Just Dial under different names to attract customers. During the investigation, the addresses of the placements agencies and Aadhaar cards linked to them were found to be fake.

“The gangs use fake documents for all official work. They run their ‘agency’ from a rented house so that tracking them gets difficult. All they need to do is invest ₹12,000 in any leading online classified portals. By paying this amount, their advertisements are highlighted at the top of the search query and they are the first to get a number of their potential clients,” said Dr Triveni Singh, additional superintendent of police, Uttar Pradesh Police.

Singh said that executives of digital classified do not verify these documents and also fail to do KYC of their advertisers which is why such platforms have become a breeding ground for fraudsters.

Two persons who ran one such fake placement agency have been arrested. Investigation revealed that the accused would charge customers for providing maids, but the help would run away after a day.

The duo has been identified as Jalal Sheikh and Hera Sahani – both residents of Mohan Garden area in Delhi.

The arrests took place following a complaint by Subhashni Singh, a resident of Lucknow. The complainant came in touch with the gang operatives after she raised a query for domestic help at leading online classified websites.

“I got a call from a placement agency which gave different rate slabs for domestic help. ₹3,500 for untrained, ₹5,000 for trained and ₹7,500 for professional staff. The agency charged ₹15,000 for their service and six months advance of maid’s salary. We hired a maid, but she slipped out of the house without informing,” said the victim in her complaint.

The accused said girls were brought from West Bengal to act as maids. “They took advantage of the huge demand for maids in Delhi-NCR. Cheating people on the pretext of offering household help seemed a safe bet as very few people reports such cases to the police,” an official said.

Police claim that they have found over 100 other ‘fake’ agents active on such online classified portals.