CALLOUS conmen are feared to have scammed scores of jobseekers in Portsmouth.
The News has received several reports from readers claiming to have been hoodwinked by fictional company Boatport Limited.
The firm, which claims to have been operating from London for 10 years, displays bogus jobs on employment website indeed.co.uk, with roles ranging from assistants to deckhand labourers.
Julie Taylor, of Harcourt Road, Gosport, was one of those to have been duped when she was promised a fictional job at Portsmouth International Port.
Ms Taylor, 52, said: ‘I feel sick in my stomach.
‘I have been out of work for most of this year and can’t believe someone would do this.’
She said that after first making contact with the business, she received an e-mail from George Angus, supposedly a director of the organisation, who explained that a person had dropped out of the role at the last minute.
Ms Taylor was then told that, ‘based on the strength of her CV’, the firm was happy to offer her a job – after she completed a digital employment contract and paid £99.99, which she handed over, for a ‘specific offence check for anything child-related’.
Boatport then sent her a link to website www.officially-tracked-disclosures.net where she paid for the bogus check – with her cash being pocketed by the scammers.
Darren Kelly, of Powerscourt Road, Portsmouth, said his wife, Nicki, almost fell for the con, too.
Mr Kelly, 45, said: ‘They’re the lowest of the low.
‘It’s hard enough trying to find a job. So to trick people into forking out money from their own pocket for a job that doesn’t exist is horrible.’
A spokeswoman from Portsmouth International Port has urged people not to fall foul of the con.
She said: ‘The port is aware of the situation and this company is not at the port at all.
‘The job advert is completely bogus.‘
Anyone who believes that they might have fallen victim to the con artists is urged to visit Hampshire Constabulary’s fraud advice pages online and report the incident via www.actionfraud.police.uk