Reporter David Colker has a great piece about online fraud in today's Los Angeles Times newspaper. "Auction and classified-ad sites are prime territory for fraud. People who need the money are most vulnerable." With so many people turning online to find bargains or to sell goods to raise cash, it's imperative they be informed about possible scams.
But it's not just online buyers and sellers who must be wary. Anyone with an email account must watch for the classic job-seeking scam that is actually a money-laundering scheme. I wrote about this in 2003 (here and here) where you can see how the scam works.
Not surprisingly, the scam is still alive and well - I just received an email today that looks for part time employees to process payments for them! I'm copying it below (I've deleted the email addresses, website and names).
Educate yourself and friends and family. It's the people who need money the most who are most vulnerable to such scams, and in today's economy, that includes a lot of us.
My name is Jack ------ am the CEO of ------ IN THE UK Presently, my company is looking for a trustworthy representative in USA/Canada. An excellent opportunity to work at home part time and still keep your full time job.
-------- also have branch in Cyprus and Spain, is a company that produces and sells Chinese materials,Latest textile and fabric material which I supply to my customers in the American geographical region and Europe, For making of good clothes and Fabrics.
Our company produces various clothing materials, batiks, assorted TEXTILES and traditional costumes. We have clients we supply weekly in the states/Canada. My clients make payments for our supplies every week by Checks/Money Orders which are not readily cash able outside of the US or Canada; so we need a representative to assist us in processing the payments. This will enable our cash to flow more quickly and therefore would not tie down our capital.
I would be willing to employ you on contract basis to be my payment representative back in the states. I am involved in alot of travel and this way I could give my clients the authority to make the Checks, money orders, etc out to you. You could then easily cash at your bank, then withdraw 10% of the total amount as your commission and send the rest back to me through Western Union wire transfer.
I NEED YOU TO FILL THIS POSITION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
IF YOU AT ALL INTERESTED IN THIS PROPOSAL FOR EMPLOYMENT PLEASE COMPLETE THIS APPLICATION AND LETTER OF EMPLOYMENT.
LOOKING FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU SOON.
1. RECEIVE PAYMENT FROM CLIENTS (Delivered by FedEx or UPS you would need to be at your address to sign)
2. CASH PAYMENTS AT YOUR BANK (PAYMENT WILL BE MAKE IN YOUR NAME TO BE CASHED AT YOUR BANK) CLIENTS WILL CONTACT YOU FIRST AND SEND PAYMENT VIA COURIER OR MAIL.
3. DEDUCT 10% WHICH WILL BE YOUR PERCENTAGE/PAY ON PAYMENT PROCESSED (Example $5000.00 you would deduct $500.00 pay the Western Union fee out of the $4500.00 left and send remainder to my company.
4. FORWARD BALANCE AFTER DEDUCTION OF PERCENTAGE/PAY TO MY COMPANY (WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER).
------ APPLICATION FORM
YOUR FULL NAME.
ADDRESS. (Not .P.O.Box)
Have You Done This Before indicate Yes/No?.
*Please make sure your telephone # is correct -- I will need to call you when everything is in place.
*Please if you are interested kindly reply to the following email. -----@aol.com
You will follow to the rules as advised earlier in this e-mail and by Job Description.
You will notify the company one week ahead if eventually you want to discontinue these funds from coming to your address in order to avoid conflict.
If in agreement to this kindly append signature below.
Cell: +44 -----
E-MAIL: ----- @aol