10/02/2005

Police warn of internet bank scam

Police have called on members of the public to be on the alert when disclosing personal bank details in responding to job advertisements posted on the Internet.

This follows reports of a scam to use these bank accounts to facilitate theft and money laundering.

The new scam involves job seekers responding to an advertisement inviting people to earn commission by providing their bank account details to facilitate international wire transfers.

A number of apparently linked websites offer the chance to earn money as a part-time financial associate and future opportunities for full-time employment.

Once the applicant has completed an online application form, they are contacted via e-mail and are required to give personal bank account details as part of the registration process. They are informed that their bank account details are required to allow for the speedy wire transfer of funds from the client base.

The applicant then receives funds, which have been withdrawn from another account without authorisation. They then transfer this money through their own account to a money transfer office abroad. Legitimate international money transfer companies, such as Western Union and Moneygram are recommended by the fraudsters. These companies are unaware of the deception.

Any persons responding to these advertisements could leave themselves open to prosecution for money laundering offences and disclosing their account details they also leave themselves vulnerable to persons making unauthorised withdrawals.

The public should be reminded not to give bank details to unknown persons or companies and to always use secure websites when making Internet payments.

They should also be aware of fake "look-a-like" websites, which contact the user asking them to verify existing account details.

(MB/SP)

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