Optimistic victims are being lured into opportunities of employment, only to be misled and, in some cases, used as 'money mules'.
‘Job seekers trust official government websites such as JobActive, never anticipating that a listed opportunity may be fraudulent,’ says Professor De Koker.
‘These fake advertisements are carefully crafted to draw victims in with an offer too good to refuse.’
Advertisements are used to extract personal information, including bank details. They may also be used to draw a victim into a money laundering scheme.
An example of such a scheme is when a lump sum is deposited into the unsuspecting employee’s bank account, with a follow-up request to send that money overseas to facilitate the proposed larger scheme.
If enough information is obtained, the money may be deposited and sent by the criminal, without any further active involvement of the victim.
‘The Australian Government should perform due diligence on persons using their websites to advertise. Failure to perform basic checks on advertisers leave such sites vulnerable to abuse by organised crime syndicates,’ says Professor De Koker.
However, in some instances the person accepting the job may have an inkling of a scam, yet plays along regardless.
‘If the person knows it was a laundering scam or the person failed to ask questions that might normally be asked, they may have acted unreasonably. In such a case they may be guilty of negligently laundering funds and may face prosecution,’ says Professor De Koker.
While statistics on the extent of money laundering scams aren’t collected, the number of cyber fraud cases are alarming.
Last year, 2620 Australians lost almost A$23 million to dating and romance scams reported to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Professor De Koker says there are simple ways not fall victim to these scams: be alert, never share your bank details or allow anyone else to use them and never share your PIN.
‘Be thorough. If it looks too good to be real, then more than likely it is. Never open any junk email and ensure that your security settings are high and regularly maintained.'