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Watch For Scams Newsletter. Employment Scams
February 27, 2019

Employment Scams

Watch For Scams is dedicated to helping you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

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Employment Scams

Some phony employment scams can land participants in hot water as they sometimes trick unsuspecting participants into becoming money mules as part of larger criminal schemes.

It’s crucial to understand that what may look to be the harmless movement of money from place to place may be anything but harmless. The FBI defines a money mule as a person who transfers illegally acquired money on behalf of or at the direction of another. Money mules often receive a commission for the service or provide assistance because they believe they have a trusting or romantic relationship with the individual who is asking for help.

While some money mules may be genuinely unaware of their involvement in criminal activity, many fully understand they are moving money attained from unlawful activities. All mules, whether unaware or complicit, are committing a crime.

Use the following tips to identify and report money mules and illegal schemes.

1. You received an unsolicited email or contact over social media promising easy money for little to no effort.

2. The “employer” you communicate with uses web-based email (such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, or Outlook).

3. You are asked to open up a bank account in your own name or in the name of a company you form to receive and transfer money.

4. As an employee, you are asked to receive funds in your bank account and then “process funds” or “transfer funds” via a wire transfer, ACH, mail, or money service business (such as Western Union or MoneyGram).

5. You are allowed to keep a portion of the money you transfer.

6. Your duties have no specific job description.

7. Your online companion, whom you have never met in person, asks you to receive money and, subsequently, forward the funds to an individual you do not know.

How to Protect Yourself:

1. A legitimate company will not ask you to use your own bank account to transfer their money. Do not accept any job offers that ask you to do this.

2. Be wary when an employer asks you to form a company in order to open up a new bank account.

3. Never give your financial details to someone you don’t know and trust, especially if you met them online.

4. Be wary when job advertisements are poorly written with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.

5. Be suspicious when the individual you met on a dating website wants to use your bank account for receiving and forwarding money.

6. Perform online searches to check the information from any solicitation emails and contacts.

7. Ask the employer, “Can you send a copy of the license/permit to conduct business in my county or state?”

If you have received solicitations of this type, do not respond to them and do not click on any links they contain. Inform your local police or the FBI.

If you believe you have been a victim of this type of scam you should promptly report it to the IC3's website at The IC3's complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration.

Remember - always watch for scams!


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