Students are being warned to look out for email money laundering scams if they applying for work abroad.
Sussex Police have issued the alert after after two young people thought they had been given jobs online and were then asked to transfer thousands of pounds through their accounts to foreign banks.
Detective Inspector Till Sanderson of the force’s Economic Crime Unit said:
We have had two recent instances of young people supposedly being “employed” by companies in America and then being asked by them to transfer funds placed in their accounts, onward overseas.
In both cases the people concerned thought they had been given genuine jobs and have just become suspicious later.
This is a not a new fraud and it is an international issue which is not unique to Sussex. The last such case reported to us was a few years ago so to have two in a week or so is unusual. It is possible that the fraudsters are exploiting the difficult job market.
The incidents were reported by a Chichester man on 18th March and by a 21-year old Worthing woman on 10th March.
The man had accepted an apparent on-line job offer purporting to be from a promotions company in Florida, and forwarded on £3,400 to an account in Turkey before his bank became suspicious.
The woman had accepted an on-line ‘job’ as a data inputter with a supposed New York City company, and had similarly forwarded on some £1,710 to a Ukraine account before suspicions were aroused.
Police and anti-fraud experts advice great caution over unsolicited emails or approaches over social media promising opportunities to make easy money.
Verify any company that makes you a job offer and check their contact details (address, landline phone number, email address and website) are correct and whether they are registered in the UK.
Be especially wary of job offers from people or companies overseas as it will be harder for you to find out if they really are legitimate.
Never give your bank account details to anyone unless you know and trust them.
Other signs that could indicate you are being targeted by a money mule scam:
- Money mule adverts or offers can take a variety of different forms and they may even copy a genuine company’s website and have a similar web address to make the scam seem authentic.
- These adverts will normally state that they are an overseas company seeking ‘UK representatives’ or ‘agents’ to act on their behalf for a period of time, sometimes to avoid high transaction charges or local taxes.
- The nature of the work that the company will claim to be involved in can vary, but the specifics of the job being advertised invariably mean using your bank account to move money.
- The advert may be written in poor English with grammatical and spelling mistakes.
If you have already disclosed your bank account details or received money into your account and you think it could be a money mule scam, you should contact your bank immediately.
To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
For yet more advice on how the scam works and how to avoid being caught up in it see the Financial Fraud Action UK website.