Fraudsters are always coming up with new ways to steal cash from their victims. One common trend is using people as money mules. Money mules are people who, at someone else’s direction, receive and move money from scammers.
One way this scam comes to fruition is through online job ads. Read on to learn more about these scams and how to keep yourself from becoming a victim.
How do Online Job Scams Work?
Fraudsters will post jobs on online job boards to attract the attention of those seeking employment. The job often looks too good to be true – easy work that can be done from the comfort of one’s own home and little actual work needed.
Once someone applies for the job, the fraudster uses them to move funds they’ve stolen from others into different accounts, making it harder for the rightful owner to get back and difficult for officials to trace.
What are the Signs of an Online Job Scam?
While the exact job descriptions may vary, there are common red flags of online job scams. They include:
- Job descriptions with little or no detail
- Vague information about the “company” offering the position
- Assigned tasks that focus on opening new financial accounts or moving money around
- Responsibilities that include receiving and sending packages to new destinations, often without opening them
In addition to moving around money that was illegally obtained, money mules may also find their own funds being stolen in these scams. They may be asked to provide financial account information that the scammer then uses to drain their account or be told they’ll be paid back for expenses that they never see payment for.
How to Protect Yourself from an Online Job Scam
There are steps you can take to protect yourself from this common scam.
- Use discretion in applying for jobs on any platform. Fraudsters are, unfortunately, everywhere and may use legitimate job boards or employment sites to help their fake opportunity appear real.
- Vet any company you apply to work for. Before applying for a job, make sure the company offering the position is legitimate. Fraudsters may use a well-known company name to hide their ill intentions, so make sure the job opportunity is with the company you believe it to be and that the contact information, website, etc. are all valid. If you have questions or concerns, contact the company directly to make sure it’s a real offer.
- Be wary of sketchy requests. It’s not normal for a company to ask you to open several financial accounts, focus on moving money around, or receive and send mysterious packages. If you start getting these requests, stop your communications with the company right away.
- Be cautious in providing your financial information. As with any situation, when you’re applying for a job, be careful in providing any financial or account information. Once you provide this information, it can be tough to stop fraudulent activity from occurring.
Learn More About Common Money Mule Scams
Money mule scams, like online job scams, are increasingly common and complex. The best way to protect yourself is to stay informed. Take advantage of our free educational resources to learn more about common scams and how to protect yourself by visiting our blog.