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I began virtual assistance as a hobby and I posted a few ads. A guy contacted me and gave me his Linkedin profile and phone number and asked me to contact him if interested. He said that he's a realtor in the US (I'm in Canada).

He said that his wife is having a surgery and he is too busy to manage some work issues. He wants me to help with emailing his clients and to do some transfers for him by opening a new account. He'll send the money to help send to his clients. I refused at first because I didn't want anything to do with this. He assured me that this is legit since he gave his business profile and contact details.

He said he doesn't know how to handle a US account from Canada and that's why he suggested that I open a new account. He needs me to respond on Monday. I Googled his business profile and found an address and website for his company.

Should I believe any of this?

marked as duplicate by Philipp, JoeTaxpayer Sep 23 '18 at 11:53

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There are a few red flags which say you are very certainly being recruited as a mule for money laundering:

  • You are asked to use your personal bank account or register a new bank account in your name? Why do they want your name on the account and not the company name?
  • They do not seem eager to get you to sign a written contract with all the boring legalese and paperwork usually required by your laws and their laws? (look them up).
  • You have no idea what the actual business model of the company is? And no, sending money from one account to another is not a business model. Nobody needs to outsource tasks which are both this trivial and this sensitive. If you do not understand how the company makes profit, how you contribute to the business process and why they pay you for this contribution, then you should not be working there.
  • People you have never met in person and who have no reason to believe that you are trustworthy want you to handle money for them? Why would they trust you with this? How do they know you are not a scammer? The likely answer is that they don't care, because the money they entrust you with is dirty anyway.
  • You can not find anyone ever mentioning the company anywhere? Having a company website is no proof. Anyone can create a convincingly looking company website in a day. They can then rebrand that website to be for a new company in 10 minutes. But does anyone else acknowledge the company exist? Any news websites? Any customer testimonies? (testimonies from people who also got recruited as money mules do not count)
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    Plus they have no problems transferring money to the OP but has problems transferring to customers. – Eric Sep 23 '18 at 14:11
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There is a tiny, tiny chance that it is legitimate. There is a 99% chance that he is using you for money laundering, or will be stealing money from you in some way.

Look at it the other way round: Would you be sending money to a total stranger the way he proposes it? You wouldn't. Would you send money to a total stranger in Canada when you are in the USA? You wouldn't. So 1% that he is a very weird but legitimate customer, and 99% for a scam.

  • Hmmm, 99% chance of scam and 1% chance of legitimacy. What's the margin of error?? ;->) – Bob Baerker Sep 23 '18 at 15:56

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