Online scam promises �90k a year jobs at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn

Foreign nationals are being asked to pay �850 to qualify for non-existent jobs at a Norfolk hospital, it emerged last night.

Health workers in African countries are being sent e-mails promising work as pharmacists at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn - on �7,520 a month.

But bogus contracts sent to applicants warn they must apply through the 'British Immigration Service' for their visa and work permit.

Jobseekers are also told they must register with the 'Internal Affairs Ministry of the United Kingdom'.

Fake contracts of employment obtained by the EDP state payments for both must be made in advance - see uploaded documents, right.

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Last night a spokesman for the UK Border Agency said: 'These aren't official organisations. They are bogus.

'The British government has nothing to do with these organisations and advises not to deal with these agents.

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'We will take action against anyone who offers bogus jobs, or provides misleading information about UK immigration rules and visa application processes in order to cheat people out of money.'

Staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital began receiving complaints by people who had been targeted by the e-mails some weeks ago.

In a statement last night, the hospital said: 'The Trust is aware that bogus offers of employment at The QEH have been made to an unknown number of foreign nationals, nine of which have been reported to the trust's local counter fraud specialist.

'The trust has been informed that in one case the recipient of the offer was asked to pay �850 for oath fees, certificate registration, and legalisation fees.

'On contacting the Trust to confirm the credibility of the offers the recipients were made aware that the offers were bogus, and that under no circumstances does the trust take payments in relation to job applications or employment at the hospital.'

The National Fraud Authority said so-called advanced fee frauds were common, with people being asked to part with money up-front for bogus job offers or lottery wins.

They are a hallmark of internet scams which emanate from Nigeria and other west African countries.

One website which tracks cover stories used by the con merchants says: 'The objective of such job offers is to trick job seekers into paying advance fees, supposedly for visas, air fares and other expenses.

'These usually amount to several thousand dollars and are demanded to be paid by Western Union wire transfer.'

By the time the recipient finds out the job offer is fake, their money and the scammer are long gone.

Ann Jackson, senior trading standards officer with Norfolk County Council, said: 'If you're looking for employment, look to reputable agencies - agencies are aware that they are not allowed to charge an up-front fee.'

The letter which purports to come from the QEH has a picture of a building which is clearly not the hospital on it.

Explaining the need for advance payment, it says: 'Due to past experiences the company has had with international staff that absconded when they got to the United Kingdom the company now makes it mandatory for every International Staff to apply and register as a Non Resident Employee with the Internal affairs ministry in United Kingdom. This ensures that any staff coming to work with Queen Elizabeth Hospital Kings Lynn HNS [their abbreviation] Trust will not leave the company on getting to the United Kingdom.'

The letter also has a ymail e-mail address - instead of the usual NHS suffix and a phone number which when rang connects to recorded music.

An online search showed the number was linked to a west African financier, whose London office address could not be traced.

Similar scams have involved hospitals in Cardiff and Leeds in recent weeks.

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