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Business crime: old frauds are like bad oysters - they just keep on coming back

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Editorial Staff

It's an oldie but a goodie, rather like that phrase much beloved of DJ who used to spin the disks in the 1960s and 70s. There's a massive upsurge in an old-fashioned internet fraud / money laundering scam - and the morons doing it have sent multiple copies to sandbox addresses at World Money Laundering Report, our sister publication and other companies within The Anti Money Laundering Network.

Way to go!

It's the" local representative scam."

You know the kind of thing: do you run a business? Will you take cheques from us and put them into your bank account and then send us the money before the cheque has cleared? Oh, yes, well, of course the cheque will bounce but that's your fault for being a dimwit. Oh, did we say that last bit out loud?

What is most surprising about the deluge of this stuff that has landed in sandboxes across the group of companies of which ChiefOfficers.Net is part is that the mailing list being used is so old. One of the addresses was closed to ordinary mail because of spam almost five years ago. Another address never even existed: there's a typo and so we know when that began to get spam / scams - again, around five years ago.

The mail uses a technique that had appeared to have fallen out of fashion: faking the "from" address to the same as the "to" address.

There's the old chestnut of slight variations in the subject: from "local representative" (sic) to "Our company is looking for representatives from your area."

Not that the spammers know where its victims are located.

The body of the mail is also a long-established text (with some minor variations but it's worked many times before so why change a winning formula?"


Body of scam mail:

Countries of interest: UK, Rep. of Ireland, Germany, Austria, Sweden Our business is concerned with the promotion and development of web media projects and also partakes in business consisting of alternate power sourcing methods, renewables, and modern green technologies. We are searching for people who are willing to work and be reliable in the countries listed previously. Requirements: - It is necessary that you either own a company or are willing to start one fairly soon and retain power of attorney of that company. - It is required that you are a registered person of one of the countries listed earlier. - It is also mandated that you are a degree holder from a recognized college. - English proficiency needs to be roughly ninety percent in order for smooth back and forth communication. - It is a definite plus on your behalf if you have a solid relationship with a financial institution from your community or abroad. - The amount of help we need will consist of about 3-4 hours per day initially, for the first two months, and approximately 2-3 hours a day after that. - The agreement between our working partnership will last one year, but may extend further to 2 years. Your day to day activities will involve handling receivables from our selling. Compensation is commission based, and is associated with the number of items we sell. Our contacts: Michael@marketingcouk.com

Alyce@marketingcouk.com Thank You!


So, how does the scam work?

There are several different crimes that this mail covers.

First is the one alluded to above. The recipient receives cheques, often drawn on foreign banks and puts them into its bank account. The fraudster tells the victim to wait a week for the cheque to clear and then send the money, minus a commission, to another bank account. But foreign cheques take several weeks, sometimes even months to clear. Bank allow access to the funds on a recourse basis - that is the bank lends its customers the value of the cheque, interest free, until it clears. Or bounces. if it bounces (as these cheques always will) the bank reclaims the money, leaving the victim out of pocket.

Another scam is to use the victim as an innocent (but arguably reckless) money launderer: cheques are received from customers of a fake business, cashed prior to delivery of goods that are not delivered or are not as described. The victim here is implicated in a wider fraud.

The final crime is that of money laundering: cheques for funds embezzled from companies (or other fraudulent conduct) are banked, do clear but the money is transferred to another account. The victim can be prosecuted for money laundering even if they did not know that they were laundering because this conduct is so stupid that the court can presume they had cause to suspect that something was wrong.

In the case of money laundering, not only do the victims face prosecution and jail for possibly a long term but also confiscation of assets to the value of the money laundered.

So, if you want the police to knock on your door, take you away, secure a conviction because you are stupid and then come back to your home and take away your assets to the value of the cheque you cashed, then go ahead, reply to this scam mail.

If on the other hand you want to keep your freedom and your hard-earned reputation and wealth, bin it and anything like it.


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