Fraudsters impersonating members of a Sikh temple in Kent have tricked people in India into giving them money under false promises of work and visas.
The Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara in Gravesend has had to place warnings on its website and social media pages alerting people to the fake advert offering free food and travel tickets for job opportunities.
The ad, with the title 'Urgently needed in the UK,' urges people to get in contact via WhatsApp.
General secretary of the Gurdwara, Jagdev Singh Virdee, said: "We had somebody come into the Gurdwara Saturday evening who is here but her father is in India and she wanted to see if he could come over.
"Her father had been alerted to this ad and asked if it was a job so she came to check whether it's genuine or not, and that's how we first found out about it," said Jagdev.
Within days, the Gurdwara had around a dozen people get in contact to ask about the authenticity of the flyer, which has been circulated on the internet.
Some have already been through the process of exchanging passport information and personal details.
"The fraud service has set up a website domain and email address, which is very similar to the Gurdwara's," explained Jagdev.
"They’re faking letters as if it’s a job offer from the Gurdwara, then they're saying to them, 'you've had the job offer now so if you pay over so much money, then we’ll arrange a travel ticket and visa'."
Some victims have already been tricked and sent money over to the scammers, which has lead the Gurdwara to issue alerts to the Sikh community, as well as report the crime to both Kent Police and the National Home Office of Action Fraud.
"The fraudsters are telling people abroad we've got jobs here so they’re impersonating us. It amounts to immigration fraud and financial fraud," said Jagdev.
More than 15,000 Sikhs live in Gravesend and the surrounding area, and many have friends and family in India.
The Gurdwara helps the community in many ways, particularly through volunteering, and often springs into action in times of crisis.
During the pandemic, volunteers supported Darent Valley Hospital by delivering 200 meals a day to NHS staff and the temple also donated PPE to the wards.
In December 2020, they worked with a humanitarian relief charity to provide 800 curries to lorry drivers trapped on the M20 due to the closure of the border at Dover over the Christmas period.
A spokesman for Kent Police said: "Kent Police received a report on Wednesday, March 29, that an unknown person had falsely purported to represent the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara in Gravesend online, in an attempt to defraud victims.
"Officers have been in contact with representatives at the Gurdwara and are investigating the circumstances."
Anyone with information should call Kent Police on 01474 366149, quoting reference 46/56976/23.