The bland email from Barcelo Travel seems innocuous enough, containing only a few short sentences offering a job with a big salary.
But this email is anything but innocent and is flooding inboxes around the world. You will probably receive a different version of this email depending on where you live.
In Australia, it is often arrives in the inbox with the subject heading “If you are studying or working” and offers US$1000 a week for a non-descript job. Spaniards receive a slightly different email seeking people to assist Italians wanting to break into the travel business.
But the emails all have the same purpose – to recruit money mules for illegal money transfer schemes.
The scammers are hoping the lure of a job in the travel industry with high commissions is enough to get people interested. Of course, it helps that Barcelo is the name of one of the 30 largest hotel companies in the world. Scammers love to trade on the reputations of well-known legitimate companies.
But consumers should be very wary of any unsolicited email offering a job as a financial manager. The job is likely to be as a money mule to accept stolen or illegally gained money into their bank account.
Often the money has been stolen from other people’s bank accounts via the Internet. Scammers use Trojan and key logging viruses to capture customer online banking details. 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.
www.banksafeonline.org.uk/spotting_scams.html is the website for the United Kingdom’s banking industry and provides an up-to-date list of other money mule scams.