Unemployed people prey to internet scams and money-launderers

Internet scammers are seeking to exploit unemployed people by sending unsolicited e-mails offering high-paid employment to trick them into parting with cash or revealing personal information.

Caroline Coats, from scam advice website Cyberfraud.org.uk said the main fraudulent schemes involved mystery shopper jobs.

She said: “It tells you about a lucrative job that you could be doing, maybe earning in excess of £100 a day, but you have to pay a sign-up fee.

“It doesn’t sound quite ‘too good to be true’ and that is what gets people to pay £34 to sign up.”

But the likelihood of gainful employment resulting is slim. When the job seeker has signed up, the fraudsters takes their cash and disappear.

Another scam – the money mule scam – turns unwitting job seekers into money launderers for criminal gangs, the BBC has reported.

The process begins when a user applies for a job via a legitimate-looking recruitment website which is actually fake.

Andy Auld, head of intelligence for the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), said there had been a recent rise in such online banking crime.

He said: “Fraudsters need people in the UK to receive criminal transfers into bank accounts under their control, and this is where mule recruitment operations come in.”

He said fake job adverts on websites were professionally crafted and usually for administrative and services positions such as financial controllers.

“People get duped into applying for jobs that appear genuine and involve the forwarding of funds on behalf of e-commerce operations.

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t realise you are committing an offence. In certain aggravating circumstances you will actually face criminal prosecution and potential imprisonment for acting as a mule.”

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