How To Avoid Money Laundering Job Scams
Have you seen job listings that ask you to process payments or handle funds transfers for an employer? It sounds like an easy job, but it probably isn’t a job at all. It is likely a money laundering job scam. These types of scams are particularly dangerous. In addition to stealing your money, they could end up implicating you in a crime.
These types of job postings are usually scams, so think twice before you apply. Legitimate companies handle payments, credit cards, and money transfer transactions directly online.
There is no need for a third party to be involved, and you should never use your own bank account to conduct financial business for an employer. If a company asks you to, it’s one of the warning signs that the job is not legitimate.
How Money Laundering Job Scams Work
How do these scams work? Money laundering scams are some of the most common online job scams. Structuring is the practice of obscuring the origins of illegally obtained payments. With this type of scam, money is passed through several financial institutions in amounts small enough as not to attract the attention of regulatory bodies. People are hired, often unaware that they are committing fraud, to move relatively small amounts of cash through their personal bank accounts in the guise of “processing payments.”
Some things that could tip you off that something isn’t right:
- Money launderers post fake jobs online, offering easy work-from-home opportunities that pay well.
- They send out emails saying they are hiring employees to help process payments or transfer funds.
- They promise a percentage for you to use your personal bank account to collect payments and transfer them to the company.
- Very often, the fake “employer” says he is from a foreign country and thus cannot transfer funds himself, which is simply not true. Legitimate foreign companies do business in the U.S. all the time.
Important: Money laundering, counterfeiting, and fraud are crimes. You can be held responsible for taking part in them, even if you weren’t told by your “employer” that what you were doing was illegal.
How to Avoid Money Laundering Job Scams
One of the best ways to avoid being scammed is to take steps to determine if a job is real every time you apply for a position. If the job looks too good to be true, be diligent in your research before you apply—because it may indeed be a financial scam.
Here’s what to do when you’re checking out job listings to avoid getting scammed:
- Thoroughly research companies before applying, especially if the job description includes third-party money transfers.
- Be aware that no legitimate company will ask you to transfer funds before meeting you in person and conducting a thorough interview and background check. Even then, it would be very unusual for third-party financial transactions using your bank account to be part of a job description.
- While companies may offer to pay you via direct deposit, no company should ever require you to use direct deposit. Therefore, make sure you are confident of a company’s legitimacy before providing them with personal information or handling money for the company.
- Use common sense. Ask yourself why the company would need to hire you as a layer between themselves and their customers’ payments. If a job sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
More Fraudulent Financial Job Scams
Money laundering is just one way that fraudulent employers can prey on job seekers looking for simple work-from-home jobs.
Shell companies can be set up by individuals who counterfeit checks or cash and need to circulate it through legitimate accounts. This is typically in amounts small enough as not to be flagged as suspicious by a financial institution. Identity thieves can use the personal information you supply when applying for a bogus job to hack their way into your accounts.
There are some things that should indicate that you need to do some research and verify the legitimacy of a company:
You are asked to use your personal bank account to move what are actually stolen or bad checks and have you keep a percentage of the money for yourself. When you deposit a bad or stolen check, you are liable to the bank. Not only will you have to pay the bank, but because the money being transferred is typically stolen, you could even be arrested for committing theft.
An “employer” hires you for a fake job but says they can only pay you via direct deposit. They will then ask for your account information and personal information. Rather than paying you, he will use this information to access your account.