What is a scam involving the transfer of money for someone else?
Offers that involve transferring money for someone you don’t know are nearly always a scam. They could also be money laundering, which is illegal. Money laundering is when somebody tries to ‘launder’ money they have earned from a crime to make it look like it came from a legal source. They do this by putting the money through a series of bank accounts to hide its original (and usually illegal) source.
If you are approached with this scam, you will be asked to transfer money for somebody using your own bank account or a bank account that you set up for this purpose. The approach could come in a number of ways—by a letter similar to the Nigerian scams, by an offer that sounds like a work from home opportunity or in any other way which means you have to hand over bank account details to a stranger. The scams often offer you a commission simply for receiving money into your bank account and then transferring it out again. The commission can be as high as 15 per cent or more of the amount transferred.
If you agree to take part, the scammer could use your account details to clean out your savings.
However, some scammers actually do send money across. This money might come from organised crime or from the proceeds of other scams like internet banking scams.
You may even find that the scammer is keeping their word and lets you keep a small percentage of the total transferred. However, you may also find that the scammer then asks you why you have not transferred some money that you did not receive. The scammer might then pressure you to make up for the ‘missing payment’ out of your own pocket.
Even if none of this happens, if you agree to transfer money in this way you may find that you are being used to cover someone else’s tracks. If the authorities follow the money trail from a crime that the person scamming you was involved in, it could lead straight to your bank account.
If you have been approached by someone asking you to transfer money for them, delete the email, throw away the letter or say no. Ask yourself—why would anyone want to pay someone that they do not know to transfer so much money?
These offers are always scams. You should remember that transferring money for someone else could be money laundering. If you agree to help the scammer by letting them use your bank account, you could be getting yourself in serious trouble.
You should never give out your personal or bank account details to somebody you don’t know and trust. Don’t let the fact that an offer sounds enticing or genuine trick you. If the offer came in an email, do not respond to the email or try to unsubscribe from it. This will only confirm to the scammers that your email address is valid.
If you still think the offer may be genuine, make sure you seek the advice of an independent professional (lawyer, accountant or financial planner) before providing any personal details.
If you have been approached about transferring money for someone else, or if you have provided your bank account or other personal details to someone and you now realise it is a scam, you can report it through the SCAMwatch website.
If you have set up a bank account, or given out your own bank account details in response to one of these scams, contact your bank or credit union immediately and do not transfer any more money.
You should also spread the word to your friends, family and colleagues to protect them.
Phishing emails are fake emails usually pretending to be from banks or other financial institutions. They make up some reason for you to give your account details and then use these details to steal your money.