In August ’08, an internet scam hit very close to home and I was almost conned. It started when I went looking for a job on Cleveland.com. There, I came across a posting that, in part, said:
We offer a part time job on your computer. We will provide you with the texts for our employees with the important information and you will correct the texts as an english speaking person and send them back to us. We don’t have a fixed salary for this vacancy. We will pay you $7.00 for every 1Kb of the corrected text. You will get paid at the END of each month. Every month your salary will be different as it depends on your activity. Example: If you correct about 5Kb of texts per day you will get over $1000.00 at the end of the month.
I applied, even though the bad English and Gmail address should have tipped me off! I heard from them via email with an “assignment” but they didn’t answer any of the questions I’d sent in! Suspicious, I went to my bff: Google, and boy was I in for a shock.
At the bottom of the results page was a blog where I found out this was a money laundering scheme! Following a few of the links there, I found out this “Russian company” was more likely based in the Ukraine. I learned the difference between this con and your typical one is, they really do pay you! They give you these badly written emails to grammatically correct and when you finish the task, you get paid via direct deposit or wire. They pay small amounts here and there to build a rapport with their victim. As time progresses, you’re ask you to become an “agent” and help them expand their business here in the U.S. But, this requires you to handle money for them via wire or bank transaction.
The accusations state this money they’re sending usually comes from stolen bank account numbers found at the bottom of checks and routing numbers. In essence, it’s dirty money and needs to be laundered, that’s why they need you handling it for them!
Now once it’s discovered the money has been laundered, guess who ends up having to pay the bank back? THE VICTIM! That’s because the banks claim they’re as much of a victim even though most of them are insured! In the worst case scenario, a person who fell for the con could be considered an accomplice and charged in court.
I contacted Cleveland.com and within 24 hours the ad was taken down. I tip my hat to them for the quick action, but then on Sept 19th, I saw the same ad again! According to the FBI, the current rage in internet crime is work at home scams. Sadly, most of us who are freelancers already know a thing or two about scams!
You can read more about this scam at the following links:
Cee Gee, when not fighting crime, is working on her latest novel; Eternal Bond and has even written a children’s cartoon. If you’d like, you can reach her on Facebook and talk about writing or life in general.