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Sydney, Australia

Abney Associates Scam and Fraud Prevention

NEW DELHI, India ­— It’s a simple equation: India has millions of tech geeks who would love to work in the US. But they need visas. And the US issues just 65,000 of these per year, under its so-called H-1B program for high-skilled workers. For freelance techies, the temptation is overwhelming. And that, naturally, has opened up a world of opportunity for fraudsters. Hundreds of small companies in India and the US claim to be able to arrange an H-1B visa — for the right price. Some Indians hand over money and never see the broker again — a scam similar to the loan brokerage racket featured in the movie “American Hustle.” True, most H1-B visas go to Indians, but the majority of these are snapped up by big outsourcing firms like Cognizant, Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys. That only serves to amp up the desperation felt by freelance techies. Some are lucky enough to get a visa — only to find that the promised job in the US doesn’t materialize. Then the visa holders are forced to return to India after spending thousands of dollars just surviving. No official figures are available for the number of frauds in India, but an unclassified document released by Wikileaks showed that in 2009, US consular officials cited H-1B scams as one of the two most common fraud categories in India. Jaspal Singh, a Delhi-based software professional, told GlobalPost that in 2010 he fell victim to a New York-based company called IT Holdings Inc. “They took $2,500 from me for visa filing, but they did not file anything,” he said. “After few months they refunded $500.” Singh was not the only victim. Nitin Mohan, also from Delhi, lost $1,000 to IT Holdings Inc in Jun 2010, he told GlobalPost. After months spent trying to persuade them to refund his money, he eventually posted a thread on Trackitt, an immigration site. Four other people came forward with similar stories. Although Mohan tried to file a criminal complaint, attempts to contact the New York Police Department from India proved fruitless. He has written off his loss. The IT Holdings Inc website is defunct and a phone number listed as its main contact point is not in service. “They just disappeared,” Mr Mohan said. “They could be out there acting as a different company and nobody would know.” Techies use internet forums such as trackitt.com and on Goolti.com to post reviews of working conditions at some of the thousands of IT companies around the world. Another victim claims to have lost $3,400 to a company that promised to file an H-1B application but vanished instead. Others say they are promised free or cheap training when they arrive in the US, but this was either substandard or never materialize.  (Feb 23, 2014 | post #14)

Sydney, Australia

Abney Associates Scam and Fraud Prevention

Pundits who claim that 2013 was a bad year for technology are wrong to focus on the shiny stuff Writing in Quartz, an admirable sister publication of the Atlantic magazine, the other day, the experienced technology watcher Christopher Mims struck a gloomy note. Under the headline "2013 was a lost year for tech", he lamented that "all in, 2013 was an embarrassment for the entire tech industry and the engine that powers it – Silicon Valley. Innovation was replaced by financial engineering, mergers and acquisitions, and evasion of regulations. Not a single breakthrough product was unveiled."  (Jan 8, 2014 | post #4)

Chicago, IL

The upcoming cyber-security threat cycleabney and associates

Some of your advice are actually sounds great  (Jun 13, 2013 | post #2)