Working on the Sinebrychoff conveyor and packaging Fazer chocolate for 3500 euros per month – non-existent job vacancies in Finland are massively sold to Ukrainians

Against the background of Finland’s popularity among Ukrainian seasonal workers, a whole fraudulent boom has begun, and well-known Finnish brands are used to lure victims. The count of the deceived goes to thousands.

Ukrainian Nadezhda Maksimchuk was supposed to fly to work in Finland in the spring, with the very first charter.

In winter, Nadezhda’s husband fell seriously ill: he had a heart attack, it took a large amount for treatment. The family living in the town of Ostrog, Rivne region, has two children, and Nadezhda, a nurse by profession, has long been out of work. The woman decided to go to work abroad. The very first vacancy found on the Internet attracted a good salary and a solution to all problems.

– I wrote in the search: “Work in Finland without intermediaries,” says Nadezhda.

– A certain Oleg said that he is a Ukrainian, lives in Finland, works in warehouses on packaging in K-Market, his manager asked to place such an ad, and now he is recruiting people to the warehouse. He promised for this work 10.50 euros per hour, the schedule is 8-10 hours a day, 5-6 days a week, 300 euros are deducted for accommodation, food is provided.

Nadezhda’s interlocutor in the messenger had a foreign phone number, a beautiful photograph and a confident voice. Therefore, when he sent her the numbers of his accounts, Ukrainian and for some reason Polish, Nadezhda, without hesitation, transferred the money to him.

– The first amount was 235 euros. He said that it was for a certificate, a resident certificate and insurance. And another 1,300 hryvnia (about 40 euros) had to be transferred to him for the Polish health book. Also, a certificate of the absence of salmonellosis and a certificate of health were required, but it is strange that he ordered all these certificates in Ukraine.

Soon, an amount of 182 euros was added, allegedly for a flight to Finland. Family savings ran out long ago, and Nadezhda had to borrow money from friends. Only when the electronic ticket, like the rest of the promised documents, she did not wait, and the mysterious Oleg stopped responding to messages and blocked her altogether, the woman realized that she had become a victim of a fraudster.

At the other end of Ukraine, Alexander Danshin , 32 years old a fireman in a school boiler room from the tiny village of Zarya, Zaporozhye region, also looking for work in Finland this spring. In the ad he found, people were required for a well-known Finnish factory.

– That person, – Alexander recalls, – offered a job at the Sinebrychoff plant on the conveyor. We specially went and read about this plant on Wikipedia, it turned out that there really is one.

The famous Finnish brand, it seemed, could not deceive. Therefore, two of his acquaintances also volunteered to go to work with Alexander. The broker mailed all of them employment contracts, they were written in Finnish and looked believable. In return, Alexander and his friends donated 7,000 hryvnia each (about 200 euros). The phone of the “representative of the Finnish plant” stopped answering the same day.

Another well-known Finnish the brand, Fazer, was baited in an ad that was approached by Irina Kubrak . The girl, originally from Ukrainian Donetsk, left after the occupation of the city and was interrupted by temporary work abroad. She was just in Finland for seasonal work, and when she decided to find something permanent, a job offer allegedly on the packaging of chocolate in Helsinki came across on the Ukrainian website. in Ukraine for 75 euros, for a bus, – Irina recalls.

– We quit our jobs, left our apartment and waited for this bus with our suitcases when we saw that all correspondence was deleted and we were blocked. Naturally, there was no bus. Later they wrote to me in social networks that you imagined yourself, decided to go to Fazer! I didn’t know anything about Fazer, I just wanted to find a good job.

You don’t have to try hard to find this kind of offer. There are hundreds of them on Ukrainian sites – these are job search sites, personal ads, and just ads in search engines. They have completely different companies and people offering work in Finland.

Ad trap

– When I saw how many such announcements there are now, I was shocked, – says Olena Skorokhod , an activist from the “Society of Ukrainians in Finland”.

– Both the chocolate factory and the production of ecological tableware. Allegedly, it is possible for married couples, housing is provided by the employer. The requirements do not say a word about knowledge of the language, experience, age. And most importantly, big salaries are announced. In one ad, I saw 3,500 euros – such salaries do not exist on an assembly line in Finland!

Elena regularly writes on social networks how a real contract with a Finnish employer should look like and what to look for when looking for a job.

Every spring, Ukrainians go en masse to seasonal work in Finland. This is mainly the agricultural sector: work in the fields, farms, picking berries. Finland is famous among Ukrainians as a country where work is well paid and working conditions are good. This is exactly what their unscrupulous compatriots use.

With the onset of the coronavirus epidemic, the situation became critical, I am convinced Nikolos Dzutsov. He calls himself an expert in matters of work abroad, and last year Nikolos founded in Ukraine a public organization “Stop Shakhrai” (“Stop Swindler”), which provides consulting assistance to victims of swindlers.

– When the quarantine began, everyone switched to a remote operating principle, says Nikoloz. – It used to be clear that in order to go somewhere, you need to come to the office of the company that provides the job, check the very existence of the actual office, look at their documents and license. But the lockdown untied the hands of the scammers, they can say that we work remotely, and this does not bother anyone.

Every day in a special group on Facebook, dozens of people write either about their deplorable experience or consult about a particular company. Fraudsters, Nikoloz says, can be easily identified by the nature of the proposed job. Knowing that berries are exhausting work, under the sun, rain, cold and rain, they offer better conditions, supposedly places in warehouses and workshops.

– No one checks these vacancies on the sites where they are posted. I can open sites online with job offers, and 70 percent of them will be ads from scammers. And very often they are allegedly invited to work in well-known Finnish companies, for example, Fazer, Sinebrychoff, there was also a Finnish branch of Coca-Cola, dairy production Valio, – Dzutsov lists.

Finnish answer

At the same time, all the above-mentioned Finnish companies are completely unaware that someone in Ukraine is “recruiting people” on their behalf, and they often find out about this after the fact when some are deceived by fraudsters victims call and write directly to businesses.

So, Alexander Danshin managed to get in touch with Sinebrychoff, where they said that the company does not conduct any activity, let alone hiring people on the territory of Ukraine, and has never conducted it.

– We learned that someone is pretending to help Ukrainians work with us, – Sinebrychoff communications manager told Yle News Timo Mikkola .

– This is thorough clever scam with websites, social media channels, fake IDs, documents, fake signatures. We informed the Finnish Embassy in Kiev and our colleagues in Carlsberg Ukraine.

Know about scammers using their name in Ukraine and at Fazer. They avoid talking about it once again so as not to draw attention to the criminal scheme. Liisa Eerola , Director of Communications at Fazer Finland, however, told Yle News that they only use official recruitment channels, all openings are on the company’s websites, and people are never asked to pay to apply.

– We usually recruit people in the countries of presence, meaning those countries where we have factories. Due to high safety standards, knowledge of the local language is mandatory, Liisa Eerola concludes.

Companies whose names are used in criminal schemes urge victims to contact the police.

Legally registered gangs

Irina Kubrak did not write a statement to the police, as she does not believe that it is possible to find intruders. Nadezhda Maksimchuk and Alexander Danshin also went to the police, however, they did not observe any active actions on the part of the police. Nikolai Dzutsov recommends that the victims unite and write a statement in groups – this increases the chances that the criminals will be caught.

– Money is given to fraudsters quickly, and it is very difficult to find them later, – says Dzutsov. – It is necessary to prove fraud, but people themselves give them money, some do not even sign any agreements with them.

At the beginning of May, they announced the capture of a gang that had been selling non-existent vacancies for four years, and about two hundred people were killed.

The National Police of Ukraine, where Yle News contacted for comment, explained, that, under the terms of licensing, intermediary firms do not have the right to demand money from applicants for the selection of vacancies and employment. Also, the employment contract had to be translated into the applicant’s native language. The problem is that people often do not sign an employment contract at all, but just a contract for the provision of consulting services.

– Unfortunately, our country has a very low standard of living, – complains the acting head of the Department of the Migration Police of Ukraine Igor Malakhov , – and therefore a large number of people are ready to take every opportunity to find a job for border.

In total, over the past year, about a thousand cases of fraudulent activities involving the sale of non-existent vacancies were registered across the country. True, how many of them have been disclosed is not specified. Often these are real companies, sometimes even licensed to work abroad. There are no stories of fraudsters being prosecuted for placing false ads.

Irina Kubrak, who wanted to get to the Fazer plant, was then left on the street with one suitcase, homeless and without money. She started looking for a job the old fashioned way – asking friends about good companies, communicating with other Ukrainians on social networks. And the girl still found a real legal job – now she works in greenhouses in Finland, grows tomatoes. Often lingers after a shift to learn how things work. Perhaps she will continue her studies here, in Finland, because she never managed to do this at the Donetsk Polytechnic Institute.

Galina Sergeeva