Money laundering is one of the cruelest scams you can think of because many times the money laundering scammer, or money mule, doesn’t even know it’s happening. Most of the time, a romance scammer tricks the money mule into transferring funds from one account to another without knowing that the funds are actually stolen. Another way scammers trick their victims into becoming money launderers is by sending them a fake check for random reasons, then having the victim transfer the funds to the scammer. In this article, we will be discussing the money laundering scams to watch out for and how to avoid these types of scams.
What is Money Laundering?
Money laundering is the illegal transferring of money through bank accounts or commercial transactions with the purpose of hiding said funds. The reason why they call it “laundering” is because the process is used to clean the money through another account before transferring it to the final account of the thief.
Types of Money Laundering Scams
The Romance Scammer and the Money Mule
The victim meets someone online and falls in love, even though they have never video chatted or met in person. The romance scammer copies and pastes phrases from the scammer’s playbook, and the victim thinks they are original love messages just for them. Once the victim falls madly in love with the scammer and gains their trust with them, the scammer starts asking the victim for money to help them with “account fees.” They ask the victim if they want to get a joint bank account, and ask them to assist with transferring funds from “jobs.” Come to find out, these funds are actually stolen from other romance scam victims, and the money mule victim has no idea.
The Fake Check Scam
The victim accepts a work from home position that includes either transferring funds from one account to another, or forwarding packages sent to them to another address and paying the fees with “reimbursements”. The scammer pays them for these “jobs” using fake paper checks that are sent to them via mail.
A lot of the times, the scammer will send more money than they promised and will tell the victim to send a requested amount of money back to them. The rest of the money then goes to the victim as form of payment. However, the bank will contact them a few weeks later notifying them that the check was fake and ask them to pay the money back. The victim then goes bankrupt trying to pay their bank back for a fake check they didn’t know was fake.
You’ve Won Scams
Congratulations! You’ve won a prize! As long as you can transfer money to pay for said prize first, the scammer claims that they will definitely send you that prize. However, this is all a lie. In reality, they just want you to illegally transfer money from one account to another. They might also ask you to take the prize money from your check and transfer a small amount of money to their account. However, the check is fake and you just stole money from the bank without knowing it. Then once you do this, you’ll be the one breaking the law and will have to pay the money back.
How to Avoid Money Laundering Scams
- Don’t give out your personal information to anyone you meet online.
- Don’t give out your financial information to anyone you meet online.
- Don’t form a relationship with anyone online without video chatting them or meeting them in person first.
- Don’t deposit a check you receive in the mail from someone you just met online, even if its for a job or to ship something.
- Scam Fact: A legit work from home job won’t send you payments via paper check because it costs more money. All funds would be deposited via direct deposit.
- Research the work from home company before applying to it.
- If a job doesn’t give you a proper video interview and background check before hiring you, chances are they aren’t legit.
- Don’t accept a job where you are transfering funds from one account to another, especially if it’s your own bank account.
- Report any money laundering scams to the FTC so that they can further assist you with your scam by educating others and contacting authorities.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You with Money Laundering Scams
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with if you think you’ve been a victim of money laundering scams