Job-seekers should be wary of scammers targeting them with illegal money laundering schemes disguised as work opportunities.
WA ScamNet has received several reports from victims who have been caught-up in employment scams after receiving emails telling them they have been successful in obtaining a job despite never having a formal interview and only answering limited questions.
There are laws against money laundering and there is a real possibility that those involved could be prosecuted. It is not worth the risk of prosecution and a criminal record.
How the scam works
Employment scams can take many forms, but in the ‘Richfield Tours’ example, the story given is that a travel company setting up in Australia is seeking an ‘Assistant Sales Manager’.
After being told they have got the job, victims are provided with documents outlining that part of their role is to receive money (either through their own personal bank account or a newly set-up account) and send the funds to other accounts provided by the scammers.
As well as receiving a seemingly high weekly wage, the victims are told to keep a certain percentage of the funds sent as part of their pay.
One victim realised it was a scam upon being contacted by his bank to advise he was sending money to a known fraudulent account and that he needed to report the activity to authorities immediately.
How to protect yourself
- Be wary of unsolicited or out-of-the-blue calls, emails or job offers even if they refer to a legitimate employment site.
- Be cautious about any job offer that involves transferring money, particularly if you have to use your personal bank account or you are asked to create a new account particularly for this job.
- People who believe they are being used as money mules should contact WA ScamNet on 1300 304 054, WA Police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers WA on 1800 333 000.
- Do some digging – a simple online search or phone call may be enough to confirm that a business, company or trading premises is fake, unregistered or being impersonated.
- Guard your personal information including your CV, tax file number and any proof-of-identity documents such as a scan of your passport.
- In Western Australia, employment agents must be licensed. You can search for a licensed agent on the Consumer Protection website – www.consumerprotection.wa.gov.au