Jobfishing – Con running fake London design agency tricks people into working for free

A man has reportedly set up a fake London-based digital design agency where people were tricked into working for him for free.

Ali Ayad, who claimed to be the Co-founder of Madbird, set up the company in 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic – although he told employees it had existed for longer than a decade – and ended up employing a team of about fifty people.

After convincing employees to work for free via the use of fake LinkedIn profiles, staged Zoom calls, a fake website and a fake list of clients, an investigation from several employees uncovered the scam and a company-wide email was sent out.

Ayad claimed ignorance and said he had also been duped, but then proceeded to ghost his employees, many of whom were left in thousands of pounds worth of debt after working long hours, for free, and under false promises of a salary.

A documentary of this story entitled Jobfished is set to air on BBC Three on Monday the 21st of February at 9pm.