The Philippine government says it has received four complaints from domestic workers over the past three weeks saying they were scammed out of HK$28,000 (US$3,589) to HK$40,000 by employment intermediaries when they sought work abroad.

Jalilo Dela Torre, labour attaché at the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong, said an intermediary in Hong Kong allegedly scammed four domestic workers, claiming his company could arrange a job, such as work as a doctor, dentist or cleaner in overseas countries where the salary would be more than double what they were paid in Hong Kong, Ta Kung Pao reported.

Four workers aged around 30, who worked overseas as a maid for the first time were victims of these scams. They first arrived in Hong Kong but quit before their two-year contract ended. Two went to Russia, one to Brazil and the fourth one to Kazakhstan.

The victims paid about HK$28,000 to $40,000 to the intermediary but discovered when they arrived in the other countries that they would have to work illegally.

The Philippine consulate in Hong Kong said similar complaints had also been received from people in Malaysia and Dubai.

Four more intermediaries were found using similar tricks to scam domestic workers, saying they could help arrange work in Russia and Canada after the consulate investigated their Facebook posts, Ming Pao Daily reported.

Among the five scammers, three intermediaries had no accreditation from the consulate while the other two had had their accreditation canceled.

In Hong Kong, only about 300 out of 1,300 employment agencies have accreditation confirmed by the Philippine authorities. Domestic workers can deal directly with employment agencies which have the accreditation.

Read: Manila suspends processing of maids’ work certificates