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DG Shipping alerts Seafarers’ families against fraudsters seeking money by posing as officials

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MUMBAI : In a recent advisory issued by the Directorate General of Shipping in Mumbai, family members of seafarers are warned about an increasing number of scammers posing as law enforcement officials.

The warning is in reaction to different situations in which individuals claiming to be seafarers onboard vessels or posing as law enforcement officers have sought money from unsuspecting family members under bogus circumstances.

According to the advisory, these fraudulent attempts frequently take the form of emails, telecalls, and WhatsApp messages, in which scammers claim that the seafarers are involved in major illegal acts such as murder, narcotics, rape, smuggling, and theft.

They then demand payment for the release of the allegedly accused seafarers.

However, investigations have proven that these allegations are often fraudulent and are intended to abuse the vulnerable nature of the targeted families.

The notice advises seafarers’ families to exercise great caution when receiving fraudulent calls or emails, emphasizing the significance of verifying the identities of callers or email senders before accepting any money transfer requests.

Furthermore, it advises families not to send money to unknown people without proper verification.

Families who receive such fraudulent messages are asked to immediately report the situation to the appropriate nodal officer of the Recruitment and Placement Services (RPS) agency or the representatives of the ship-owners through whom the seafarer is engaged.

These agencies are then directed to notify the appropriate law enforcement authorities to avoid further victimization and protect the safety and security of seafarers and their families.

The Directorate General of Shipping, an associated office of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, Government of India, oversees all executive matters relating to merchant shipping.

The release of this warning demonstrates the government’s seriousness in addressing the issue of fraud against seafarers’ families.

In response to the advice, Franky Viegas, President of the Goa Seafarers Association of India (GSAI), cited multiple cases in which fraudsters have targeted families of Goan seafarers over the last year.

Viegas supported the warning and stated that GSAI is prepared to assist affected families by relying on existing data in their system.

The Director General of Shipping has urged all stakeholders to work together to protect the interests of seafarers and their families, highlighting the need for collective action in combating these fraudulent schemes.

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