Dangerous Job Scams

Some scams are designed to be ripoffs through strange, complex money handling routines, where you're offered large amounts of money for 'processing payments' for an overseas firm that uses Western Union or some other money by wire payment method to transfer money around the world. The ripoff is that you're the patsy taking the risks.

There are some common factors in these scams, and one of them is that the criminals generally get fussy about details like wanting you to open a separate bank 'business account' to process their payments. This actually means they not only have a third party handling their money, but can keep track of where it is. After going through this account, the money is wired to them, effectively laundered, and much harder to track.

The risks, in these cases, are all yours. You may be innocent, but it doesn't look good, and you are, in fact, assisting in committing a crime, even if you're quite innocent of involvement with anything else. This is essentially 'aiding and abetting' a criminal, and saying you had no idea you were doing that doesn't go down too well with police or in court. The fact is you know very little about who's involved, or where the money comes from, so you can't give information you don't have. You can wind up being up to your neck in trouble, getting income from a source you can't even identify. That doesn't look too good on your CV.

We know of one particular instance where a Rumanian crime group approached someone in Australia to launder money through Western Union. The person contacted the Australian Federal Police, who said this was now the preferred option for money laundering, and Eastern Europe is one of the normal sources of these scams.

Common factors in 'jobs' like this:

  • You only have an email contact to work with.
  • The email contact is very active, and you'll get a lot of emails, all about how to set up the payments and wiring the money elsewhere.
  • You get a list of instructions related to handling the money.
  • You're offered a lot of money to do things anyone could do for themselves.
  • It's not clear why you, personally, have been picked to do this job.
  • You're referred to a website, which doesn't respond to queries.
  • Questions don't get answered.
  • You get continual demands to do things related to handling the money.

What you can do about these scams:

  • Report to your local or federal police, or whoever handles foreign crime groups.
  • Send the police copies of all the information you've received.
  • Report the approach to the money handlers, like Western Union.