Be especially wary if someone who befriends you online asks to use your bank account to receive money, or to pass money to someone else through your account. You may be in the process of being recruited as a money mule.
Members of foreign criminal syndicates befriend targets on social networking websites. These criminals often pose as lonely individuals seeking companionship and love. After gaining the money mule's trust, the criminal would ask him or her to open new bank accounts or use an existing account to receive money. When the money is deposited into the bank account, the money mule is asked to pass or send the money to another person or company that is usually overseas. Alternatively, criminal syndicates post job advertisements on online job portals. The job position is an agent who earns commission for receiving and transferring money for a “legitimate” company.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
- Be wary of people offering commission for doing very little other than transferring money
- If a job sounds too good to be true by offering an income for doing no work, it probably is a scam
- Be suspicious of relative strangers asking for personal details
- Be wary of employers who do not have a street address; they may be trying to avoid being traced later on
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
- Do not give out personal particulars or bank account details to strangers
- Decline any request by an online acquaintance for money transfers – you might unwittingly be committing a crime by laundering money for another party
- If you suspect that you have received money in your account in the circumstances above, report this to the bank and the Police immediately – and if the money is still in your account, do not deal with it
- Ensure that your bank account is used only for your personal banking needs
Source: Scam Alert Singapore