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A person I've been talking to for a while asked me to go into his bank account and make a transfer to a US beneficiary account. It's a continental account. It showed the date that the account was opened in 2007 as well as a picture of him.

I trusted him and I did it. Now he is asking me to do it again and this time red flags are coming up. Can someone help me? Is it illegal to go into someone's account and make a transfer for them?

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    Ask yourself why would he want you to do this?
    – zeta-band
    Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 21:05
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    Regardless of the legality, this is a Bad Idea. What possible legitimate reason could he have to ask you to make this transfer instead of doing it himself? Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 21:08
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    Sounds like he used a fake web page to make you think you did something that he is later going to pretend was illegal, and he will try to 'blackmail' you to pay hush money to the 'police'. However it works, it doesn't matter - this is clearly a scam. Don't involve yourself with scammers. Walk away. Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 21:40
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    @tl59 Does your bank account show you a picture of yourself? No? Because mine doesn't either. This is just a scam page made to build your trust in him. No one ever asks a random person to log into their account for them - why would they? It doesn't make sense. Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 21:40
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    "Ritz Continental is a real banking Company and I went on to their page and then logged in with his username and password" I hate to break it to you, but anyone can set up a web page like that, and the only cost is the domain name registration and the hosting, which may be less than $25. I googled Ritz Continental and the only banking page I came up with was Ritz Continental Online which seems pretty clearly to be a dummy front: no real world contact information, no way to set up new accounts. Most of the links don't work. It's a scam, don't respond to any further contacts by these people. Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 23:41

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To answer your literal question: "Is it illegal to going to someone's bank account and do a transfer?" It depends. If you have a power of attorney for the person, it's probably fine. If you are doing it for a real world friend of long standing who gave you their account name and password, it's probably not illegal, or at least beneath the notice of law enforcement. It might be against the terms of service of the bank, and theoretically could results in the bank closing your friend's account, if someone brought it to the attention of the bank, and they decided to care. On the other hand, if some "online" friend gives you the account info and it turns out it's actually stolen from some unknown third party, then yes, that is illegal almost anywhere in the world, and you are the patsy who'll be left holding the bag.

In this case it looks the "bank" you named in the comments is just a dummy web page. It is clearly not a real bank. Notice there is no "real-world" contact information (phone numbers, street address for the corporate offices, etc). Most of the links don't work, including the ones for setting up a new account. There is a genuine Continental Bank, but no Ritz-Continental Bank. They are undoubtedly trying to run some sort of scam on you, but I don't know what it is. Don't respond to any further contact from them.

Why would someone trick you into making a fake transfer on a fake website? I have absolutely no way of knowing! Here are some possibilities:

  1. Just for laughs. You'd be surprised how many people get a kick from jerking other people around, and they all have access to the internet.

  2. To get you to go to a website that is loaded with malware that will infect your computer. They may also now have the internet address of your computer, so they can attack it remotely.

  3. To set you up for a fake police/IRS/FBI scam: "You're going to jail for making that money transfer! Unless of course you send us $500 in Amazon gift cards ...". I've gotten three calls on my landline in the last year claiming to be the IRS on their way to arrest me unless I came up with the gift cards.

  4. To establish that you're gullible enough that you're worth pursuing for the "real" scam.

  5. The scammer is still figuring out how to turn this into a working scam, and you are one of the beta testers.

You probably are never going to know what the motivation was, but there are some important lessons for you to learn from this:

  1. You can meet lots of nice people on the internet, but you can also meet a lot of con artists, criminals, and liars.
  2. People you know only from online contact can lie to you with impunity. As they say, "No one on the internet knows you're a dog."
  3. Anybody can set up a web site with any content they like for about $25 a year. Simply having a web-site does not establish that something is a legitimate business.
  4. No-one gives away money to random people on the internet, and no-one with any sense gives their banking information to contacts they only know from the internet. If someone is offering to do either of these it's a scam and you are the mark.
  5. In the future if someone on the internet asks you to do something that makes no sense, then for pity's sake don't do it!
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  • Omg you wasn't on Ritz-continental.com and it's a dummy account. So when I logged onto this dummy account and he has a dummy page showing all this money what did I actually transfer if it's not even real I don't get it. His dummy account show lots of money and it showed a transfer. So if it was a dummy account that means there really wasn't money in there correct? Do you think I was just going through the motions of a transfer to him to set me up to Blackmail me?
    – TL59
    Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 1:21
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    @TL59 if I gave you a business card that said I was "James Bond" would you believe it? You can have business cards printed that say anything you like, and anybody can set up a web site that says anything they like. Note that if you search Google for "Ritz-Continental Bank" that website will be the only banking site you find (though there are a lot of restaurants). A real bank would show up in Google hundreds of times in links to news stories and government regulatory sites. I have no idea what they have planned for you. Maybe it's just a practical joke, but they are clearly lying to you. Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 1:53
  • @TL59 my advice would be to simply ignore any future contact from them. Now if you've given them any of your banking information, then contact your bank immediately. Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 2:03
  • No I didn't give him any of my banking information. I will not have any further contact with them but I'm very upset because someone mentioned that this money was dark web which is stolen from someone's account and I transferred it into another account. Does that mean investigators will be knocking at my door. Could I be arrested for something I did that I really thought was legitimate.
    – TL59
    Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 2:30
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    @TL59 Just because you saw a pop up that said "transfer in progress" with a little progress bar doesn't mean the computer was actually doing anything. The person who controls the website can make it do whatever he likes when you click that button. It was probably just shuffling numbers around on screen, no real money. Worst case scenario, that "transfer" might've been downloading a virus onto your computer. You might want to run an anti-virus scan and/or have the computer checked out by someone techy (whom you know and trust, in the real world), to be sure.
    – Steve-O
    Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 20:00

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