The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Rwanda (UNHCR) is reporting its decades-old emblem is being produced by criminals trying to make money.
The agency said in a press statement released Wednesday that correspondences have been discovered circulating yet they had never gone through its bureaucracy.
The documents are going through e-mails, mobile money services, and other platforms.
“A scam that recently came to our attention, promised employment at UNHCR in exchange of money. The person(s) behind this scam had recorded himself/herself as “UNI HNCR” for mobile money service in Rwanda,” said UNHCR.
“Past reports refer to individuals posing as UNHCR staff while promising resettlement to a third country in exchange of money.”
“Additionally, UNHCR is aware that email addresses with names suggesting a connection the organization, such as firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, are active. These may be used by persons unrelated to UNHCR with malicious intents.”
The refugees agency warned that there are a number of indicators the public should consider when they see any documents with its emblem.
It is possible to protect oneself from scams using UNHCR’s reputation and name, by paying attention to the following indicators: job opportunities which are open to external candidates are advertised on the UNHCR Rwanda website ttp://www.unhcr.org/rw/job-opportunities.
The UNHCR recruitment process is transparent and absolutely free of charge.
“Offers of employment at UNHCR originating from other sources, especially if in exchange of money, should NEVER be trusted,” part of the communiqué reads.
Secondly, it reads, only UNHCR, State entities and designated organizations, such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Refugee Service Centre (RSC), are authorized to conduct resettlement activities in Rwanda.
“Requests for money in exchange of resettlement, including from individuals declaring that they work for UNHCR or its partners, are indicators of fraud and should raise suspicion,” the communiqué signed by Eugene Sibomana, Communication/PI Associate adds.
It was also noted that “UNHCR does not accept any payments via mobile money. Mobile money services from accounts allegedly owned by UNHCR should not be trusted.”
Meanwhile, UNHCR indicates that it does not utilize any free email provider (e.g. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.): the institutional email provider of the organization is unhcr.org.
“Communications coming from accounts allegedly belonging to UNHCR should not be trusted wherever they do not come from a UNHCR official email address.”
The agency wants potential victims of scams to report to the police.
“Reports on attempts to fraudulently use the UNHCR name and/or emblem by individuals in Rwanda can also be shared with UNHCR, in the language of one’s preference, through confidential email address firstname.lastname@example.org.”