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Employment Scams

employed-dog-big(see also pyramid schemes and chain letters)

Scammers are using the Internet, newspaper advertisements, seminars, mail and direct approach to lure people into self-employment schemes which end up costing them money - instead of making them money.

Key phrases to look out for:

  • make large amounts of money quickly and with little effort

  • work from home (often using your computer)

  • requires payment for 'registration' or for more information material

Some schemes sell information of no value, some pretend to provide skills which turn out to be unmarketable, and others pyramid schemes which rely on recruiting or luring others into joining.

Computer gambling or share market software programs, which guarantee winners, are a common scam.

Money transfer or “money mule” schemes are a more sinister scam. They want you to be involved in illegal money laundering.

The schemes are often promoted by email and on the Internet as “work from home” opportunities. The operators offer you commission (between 7% to 15%) for receiving money into your bank account and then transferring it out again. They often claim it is to get around tough tax laws in their home country.

Anti-fraud experts say the money being transferred is often stolen from other people’s bank accounts via the Internet. Scammers use Trojan and key logging viruses to capture customer online banking details. They need Australian bank accounts to launder the money through. Once you receive the money, you take your cut and pass the rest to a pre-arranged overseas destination.

There are laws against money laundering. There is a real possibility that you will be prosecuted. It is not worth the risk of prosecution and a criminal record.

The United Kingdom’s banking industry website www.banksafeonline.org.uk/spotting_scams.html has an up-to-date list of money mule scams.

Fight back

Be wary of job opportunities that sound too good to be true

  • There is no “easy way” to make money from home.

  • Check with Consumer Protection, ASIC (www.asic.gov.au) and ACCC (www.accc.gov.au) whether the offer is legitimate.Ask for all the details in writing before you sign anything. Don’t be pressured into signing something on the spot.

  • Be suspicious if you are asked to pay money. Find out more before you hand over your cash.

  • Find out if there is a market for the work you plan to do.

  • Check whether there are special legal requirements such as licences or other constraints on working from home.

  • Alert WA ScamNet.

Money Mule email scams

  • The schemes are often promoted by email and on the Internet as “work from home” opportunities. The operators offer you commission (between 7% to 15%) for receiving money into your bank account and then transferring it out again. However the money is often stolen from other people's bank accounts. Money laundering is illegal.

  • Always treat unsolicited job offers from strangers with caution, even if it appears to come from a legitimate company or job recruitment service. Why would they write to you when they have no business relationship with you?

  • Scammers often use fake email addresses mimicking real companies or set up sophisticated websites to give the appearance of legitimacy.

  • Forward suspicious job offers to WA ScamNet and delete the email.

What to do if you suspect you have fallen for a money mule scam

  • If you have received money into your account, transferred or attempted to transfer money elsewhere, immediately contact your bank or financial institution.

  • Your financial institution will start a fraud investigation and alert police if necessary.

  • The financial institution will take steps to ensure that criminals cannot transfer money out of your account. This may mean freezing or closing down your account to ensure the criminals cannot access the money.

  • If you have provided the criminals with your account details and Internet banking password, then unfortunately the criminal may be able to access your account. You should never give your Internet banking password to anyone - it must remain confidential!

  • Always make sure that you have personal firewalls, the latest anti-virus software updates and other security patches on your home personal computers, and change your banking password on a regular basis.

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