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NYT: Amid rising unemployment, Greeks fall prey to job swindles

There is always a group of people winning in times of high social needs: that’s the swindlers who try to exploit desperation and need. In Greece of recession and high unemployment, job offering swindlers depriving people of hundreds of euro appeared on the scene as soon as the economic crisis set in.

New York Times published an excellent feature about how swindlers exploit jobless’ hopes. Some excerpts:

Amid Recession and Rising Joblessness, Greeks Fall Prey to Employment Swindles

ATHENS — Nearly two years after losing his job as a car salesman and with bills and debts piling up, Angelos started surfing the Internet for postings outside Greece. A small ad on a Web site offering “opportunities abroad” caught his eye, and he dialed the accompanying contact number and was told about a factory job in Sweden.

 A month later, he was out $2,300 and still jobless.

“They told me to wire the money to cover procedural costs and the airfare,” said Angelos, 38, a father of two who declined to give his full name for fear of jeopardizing future employment possibilities. The airline ticket never arrived in the mail, and follow-up calls went unanswered. A 300-mile road trip from Athens to the northern port of Thessaloniki, the job agency’s stated location, led nowhere. The address did not exist.

Angelos, whose wife is also unemployed and who borrowed the money for the agency fee from relatives, is by no means the only Greek to have been duped in such frauds. The authorities say criminals are busy preying on increasingly desperate Greeks facing an ever-deepening recession and an unemployment rate of 27 percent over all and more than 60 percent for those under 25.

In another example, Vangelis stranded in Oslo, Norway: without money and without the promising job.

Vangelis Kouris left the Greek capital for Oslo last month after his bakery business collapsed and efforts to find work failed. But a job packing fish in a Norwegian factory, proposed to him by Greeks at a cafe near his neighborhood in Athens, did not exist. Neither did the factory. Mr. Kouris, 45, has since been sleeping at Oslo’s main railway station as he looks for work, anxious to raise some money for his wife back home, who has bowel cancer and cannot afford medical tests, he said.

Read the full story here.

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