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Payment Transfer Job Scam Emails - Laundering Scams

Scammers are using unsolicited email "job offers" to trick recipients into falling for payment transfer scams. The victim is promised a percentage of the payments transferred. However, the scheme is a method of "laundering" stolen money and victims may be unwittingly participating in illegal activities.

Money Laundering

© Maxim

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Dear Sir,Madam,

We are small new firm engaged in export of goods to overseas outside my country.We have won various small exports contract at one time or the other, recently we were (engaged) contracted to supply financial programs for market analyzing, management project software in USA which was successfully done.

Unfortunately we have faced some difficulties while receiving payment for our software in our country as need 10-30 days to get a payment from your country. We do not have so much time to accept wire transfers and can't accept cashiers checks and money orders as well. So we need your help to accept this payments in your country faster. If you are looking to make additional profit we will accept you as our representative in your country. You will keep 10% of each deal we conduct.

Your part is very important to accept funds and forward it to us. It is not a full time work but a very convenient and fast additional income. We therefore solicit your assistance to help remit this money , I would want you to submit to us via mail to [Address removed] the following information which includes
1 Your Full Name
2 Your Contact Address
3 Telephone number/Fax
4.Yahoo or MSN ID.
Your country of living

Please respond ASAP and you will get additional details on how you can become our representative. Joining us and starting business today will cost you nothing, just some extra income for you.

Thanks for your vivid co-operation.

Director of ENFOSOFT Marketing Dept.


Bogus "job offers" like the one shown above are very common. These "job offer" emails usually ask recipients to accept cash or cheque payments into their bank accounts and then wire-transfer the payment to the "company" running the scam. In some versions, victims are asked to accept direct electronic transfers into their own bank accounts. Victims are instructed to keep a specified percentage of the transferred funds as payment.

Typically, the scammers claim that there is some impediment, such as slow processing or currency conversion problems, which stops them from accepting overseas payments in their country. Therefore, they claim, they need an overseas "agent" who can accept payments and then forward these payments back to them in an acceptable format such as a wire transfer. However, the real purpose of such schemes is to "launder" stolen funds by making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to follow the money trail.

Money stolen from bank accounts, proceeds from online fraud, and payments for nonexistent items sold on eBay may end up in the agent's account for "sanitation". For example, the criminal may transfer funds from a bank account recently compromised by a phishing attack into the "agent's" personal account. The agent will then subtract his or her percentage and wire the remaining stolen money overseas to the criminal. Thus, the money trail may lead police directly to the agent. Meanwhile, the criminal has been able to collect the stolen funds unhindered and can simply disappear if things get hot. On the other hand, the hapless agent is now an accessory to serious criminal activity and may ultimately be charged accordingly. Effectively, the agent becomes a "mule" to be used at will by the criminals responsible.

In some cases, the agent may be asked to "re-ship" stolen goods and equipment as well as transfer payments. The agent may become more and more embroiled in the shady world of international cyber crime until he or she realizes what is happening or is left "holding the bundle" when the police arrive. Acting on what looks like a good opportunity may ultimately become an enduring nightmare for the victim. He or she may end up losing integrity and personal funds, and have to face very serious legal consequences.

Sadly, there are plenty of recipients naive enough to take these offers as genuine and apply for the "job". At face value, it may seem like an easy and legitimate way of making extra money. The criminals may directly target potential victims by responding to "work wanted" ads or resumes posted online. In other cases, they may randomly distribute thousands of "job offer" emails in the hope of netting just a few people foolish enough to take the bait.

Job scam spam takes many forms. While some such emails may be fairly easily identified by poor spelling and grammar and far-fetched cover stories, others may be quite sophisticated and even include seemingly official logos and company information. Regardless of how believable a job offer may seem, recipients should keep the following points in mind: All unsolicited job offers that arrive via email should be treated with extreme caution. Do not reply to such emails or provide any personal information to their senders. Aside from the money-laundering ruse, scammers may also use job offer emails to trick victims into revealing sensitive personal information. Over repeated emails, the scammer may gain enough information to steal the victim's identity. The scammers may also trick victims into paying upfront fees for bogus "training" or "job manuals" or trick them into transferring their own funds while waiting for a stolen cheque to clear.

The best thing to do with such job offer emails is to simply hit the "Delete" key.

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Last updated: July 31, 2013
First published: November 2nd, 2006
Written by Brett M. Christensen
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