Software and ICT-based trade body BASIS yesterday warned students and housewives of multilevel marketing companies that are fraudulently alluring people into easy online earnings in the name of outsourcing business.
Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) said some organisations with the concept of MLM have recently built a network across the country by focusing on outsourcing and are siphoning off public money.
The fraudulent companies that camouflage themselves as outsourcing firms are targeting mainly the students of universities and colleges by offering them ways of easy earning by clicking on websites, after taking advance payment from them.
Sometimes, the students fail to even realise their deposits, said BASIS leaders.
The current situation is a threat to the potential of the outsourcing business, BASIS President Mahboob Zaman said, adding that some unscrupulous people are deceiving people in the name of outsourcing when the country is earning reputation in the sector.
At a press conference at the association's office, the BASIS leaders expressed concern as the multi-million dollar outsourcing business could be affected due to the wrongdoings of these MLM companies.
Zaman said the number of such companies has risen since the end of last year and now it has taken the shape of an 'epidemic'.
But the administration is not still aware enough of such fraudulent businesses, he said, adding that awareness is the best way to protect the young people from these activities.
The association along with the ICT ministry and other ICT-based organisations will launch awareness programmes on the issue from June 30 at different universities, the first one to be held at Jahangirnagar University in Savar.
He said the position of Bangladesh is third on oDesk, a leading marketplace for online job, and Bangladesh's young IT experts do 12 percent of its work.
At the press briefing, some victims of different MLM companies, particularly Dolancer Outsourcing and Skylancer, described their experiences and told journalists how they were cheated.
They said the MLM companies charged registration fee from Tk 5,600 to Tk 8,000 for opening accounts and later took more money from them for different purposes.
But when the time comes to give their returns, the companies start showing lame excuses.
Already the police arrested some officials of Skylancer and Dolancer on the basis of complaints from the victims. Apart from these two, BDS Click Centre, Bravo IT, Lance Tech, Online Ad Click, Paid to Click, Safety Click, PTC for Bd, Ad Sourcing and Click to Paid are doing such online business in the country, the BASIS leaders said.
BASIS Senior Vice President AFM Fahim Mashroor said the real outsourcing companies do not take any registration fee from its members.
He also mentioned some sites that are recognised globally for professional outsourcing such as www.odesk.com, www.freelancer.com, www.elance.com, www.guru.com, www.vworker.com, www.scriptlance.com, www.getacoder.com, www.99designs.com, www.peopleperhour.com and jobs.freelanceswitch.com.