SERIOUS SCAMS: Don't get caught up in criminal activity such as money laundering.
SERIOUS SCAMS: Don't get caught up in criminal activity such as money laundering. fizkes

We see stupid people everywhere

IF YOU receive an email from someone asking for financial assistance, stop, and think about what is being requested and whether you could become not only a victim, but also a criminal.

Police report they continue to receive complaints from victims about overseas offenders making contact via email, purporting to be something they are not or who they are. These offenders are then using the victims to launder stolen or fraudulently obtained money. It is even likely the victims are committing Money Laundering offences under s.250 (1) Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Act 2002.

Unfortunately, warnings don't seem to have an impact on some people who the police say are acting stupidly by involving themselves in criminal activity such as money laundering.

An example of this came to light through a fraud complaint from a Victorian victim. He removed $86,000 from his account as a result of a scam email and transferred the money to the account of a Queensland resident who then stated that he had received the $86,000 into his account after he was asked by his online female 'friend' from the Philippines to use his account, and that she would place some money into it and then transfer the funds out. He did this, but received no money himself.

Further investigations are being made, however it would appear that the Queensland man has been used as a 'money mule' by an overseas based love scam. He may also be committing offences by enabling the fraud and/or an offence under Money Laundering 250 (1) Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Act 2002.

It is still happening that victim's accounts are hacked and naïve people are then helping and enabling the offenders by receiving the stolen, fraudulently obtained money into their accounts and then on sending it overseas.

These people are purportedly having an online love relationship when the only thing they have is a photo of somebody (male and female) they don't know, with some bogus identity.

"They receive thousands into their bank account and think this is normal?" Detective Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards of the Queensland Police forces asks. "They carry out no real checks to see where the money came from or get the bank to check where the account was sourced from to see if there was something amiss.

"I've seen some people thinking they have an attractive woman in Asia with promises of a future. I have females thinking they are in some love exchanges with an ex-US marine when you can tell plainly from the vocabulary of the email exchanges that they are dealing with a male from Africa or some other location. They carry out no valid checks such as writing a letter to an address and getting a reply, and then being able to check the address. Relying on emails is a waste of time to validate anything."

Sergeant Edwards reminds seniors to be aware - the moment there is a request for assistance with finance or to on-send money, there should be a huge alarm bell ringing. "But it doesn't seem to sink in," he added.

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