Venezuelan migrants have become an easy prey for scammers, due to the collapse of the migration systems and the difficulty of getting a job
Since Nicolás Maduro came to power in 2013, the mass emigration of Venezuelans has become a social phenomenon in Latin America. The number of Venezuelan migrants in neighboring countries increased from 89,000 in 2015 to 900,000 in 2016, according to data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). This evidences a growth of more than 900%. For this same reason, the migration systems of countries where there is a high flow of Venezuelans are saturated, making it more difficult to get legality quickly.
The chain goes even further: without legality, there is no work, at least not licit jobs. Because of this, the scammers see in the Venezuelan an opportunity to take advantage of the desperation and the need. These are the three methods of fraud in which Venezuelans have fallen in different countries of Latin America:
Scams with legal procedures
One of the countries with the most flow of Venezuelans is Colombia. At least 819,034 Venezuelans remain in the Colombian territory, of which 442,462 are irregular, which translates to 54% that has not achieved the legality in the country, according to a balance of the Venezuelan Migrant Administrative Registry (RAMV, by its acronym in Spanish) in Colombia.
Recently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia denied a statement on behalf of Migración Colombia that circulated through social networks. The scam consisted of charging 150 thousand pesos in exchange for the special permission to reside (PEP, by its acronym in Spanish). This work permission is delivered free of charge but is currently not being printed. "Attention #CiudadanoVenezolano, @MigracionCol informs you that this information, which is circulating, related to #PEP, is false. Do not get scammed, denounce", published Migración Colombia in its Twitter account.
Scams in job offers
In Peru, more than 3,000 Venezuelans enter daily since April, joining the 330,000 that are established in the country, as reported by the National Superintendency of Migration of Peru. Within the region, Venezuelans have denounced different abuses and scams related to false job offers.
At the end of 2017, the Villa El Salvador police station received complaints from 20 Venezuelans who were victims of the same scammer: Oscar Ochoa Quispe. According to La República, the person promised to pay 50 soles for three hours of work that consisted of filling sacks with sawdust in a workshop. In addition, he asked the Venezuelans to place their belongings in a sack so that they could work more comfortably. A few minutes later, he fled with money, cell phones, watches, wallets and other belongings.
The cases of work fraud that are most heard are jobs by social networks, as Solimar Barreto tells in an interview with 24Horas, to which a man offered a customer service work. However, when she went to the interview she realized that it was to work in a clandestine brothel. Other Venezuelan immigrants, such as José Campos and Ana Sánchez, worked for two months in a call center where they were never paid, explains La República.
You can also read: In Mexico, migrants are also persecuted and mistreated
Scams in border areas
The border between Táchira and Cúcuta is to which more Venezuelans enter to Colombia, according to the official website of Migración Colombia. In this place, there is a long line of exhausted people, as well as scammers who are impersonating "agents" who offer to pass the citizens to the front of the line. "Do not pay to have your passport stamped. They are going to hide it and then they will charge you in Colombian pesos so that they can deliver it again," said an official of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), according to El Nacional.
However, many of the Venezuelans who enter Colombia do not arrive to stay, but to use the neighboring country as a trampoline to go to Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, among others. Christian Krüger, director of Migration Colombia, said that until May 2018 more than 286,000 Venezuelans left Colombia for Ecuador through the International Bridge of Rumichaca, where scams also occur with transportation and other extortions to Venezuelans.
"The truth is that the Venezuelan population, by the road of Colombia have been scammed a lot, they have wanted to take them to Rumichaca and tell them that they are left here in La Hormiga, on the Colombian border that is a very populated area and they charge them 150 dollars, and the reality is that to get to Lima you do not spend even 60 dollars," denounced a member of an NGO in the area who chose to remain anonymous, as explained by El Venezolano newspaper.
LatinAmerican Post | María de los Ángeles Rubio
Translated from "¿Usted es un venezolano que vive en el exterior? Protéjase del fraude "