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A close family member wants to transfer money from the UK to their personal account in Brazil using BB Remessa. Since they have reached their personal transaction limits, they have asked me to sign up for BB Remessa and transfer money for them. If I did so, could I potentially face problems?

I've looked for similar questions but most are about the potential for being scammed or money laundering.

  • Avoiding being scammed: I know this person, I won't give them access to my accounts, I won't transfer until I receive the same amount in my bank account.

  • Avoiding money laundering: I think I can trust this family member not to use me for laundering money. I will not transfer to any account other then their personal account. I understand that if I end up transferring any money obtained illegally I might be legally liable.

Is doing this considered fraud in some way? It is not technically "my" money being transferred. The terms and conditions of the service ban illegal activities but don't describe this situation. Will large transfers in and out look suspicious to people inspecting my bank statements?

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    The big question missing from your question is “why make your friend’s problem your problem?” Your friend’s transaction limit is not your problem, so none of this has anything to do with you unless you let it. If your friend has exhausted one transfer method, let them use a second service. International wire transfer, western union, etc. I’d stay out of this, not because it may look suspicious or whatever but because there is nothing in it for you. Either nothing happens or something bad happens, there’s no good outcome for you. You don’t need to get money to Brazil.
    – quid
    Jul 13, 2021 at 19:49
  • Why doesn’t your friend do a regular bank transfer from their UK bank account to their BR bank account? Or use a service such as Transferwise themselves?
    – jcaron
    Jul 16, 2021 at 22:54

2 Answers 2

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In the United States, if you do a wire transfer through a bank, then you are supposed to declare if you are doing it for someone else. I assume the rules are the same in the UK. However, this is for bank, not a money transfer service.

BB Remessa's user account agreement specifically states that you may not use your BB Remessa account to transfer money on behalf of third parties. However, if you break this rule, you are not breaking the law, you are just breaking your agreement with them. So, the worst case scenario is that they would close your account if they somehow found out or suspected you of transferring money for other people.

Of course, if the money being transferred is the proceeds from a criminal activity, then you could be charged with money laundering, and that would be true regardless of any agreement you had with BB Remessa. Usually small time money mules are not prosecuted unless the amounts involved exceed certain thresholds.

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If you want to help someone else with a difficult money-related situation, the right way to help them is by assisting them in navigating the systems rather than by tangling up your own financial affairs with theirs. For example, you could do some research for them into alternative money transfer systems, or you could offer to be on a conference call with them while they talk to their bank and figure out what the options might be.

Even if this is a completely legit request [*], you could be opening yourself up to all kinds of confusion (tax-related and legal-related) by doing this. Needless to say, if it's not a legit request, then you don't want your own money/accounts anywhere near it.

There are a number of examples on this site where people have got their financial affairs tangled up with others and had all sorts of problems as a result:
How do I stop a homeless person’s benefits from coming into my account?
My friend wants to put my name down for a house he's buying. What risks would I be taking?
Opening account for family in my name

Learn from these and help your relative in a way that doesn't get you exposed. And keep your eyes open in what you learn for signs that your relative is being scammed or taken advantage of. Those are the best ways to help.

[*] examples of non-legit requests would include: your relative has been hacked (so you are actually corresponding with an impersonator) or your relative has fallen victim to scammers who have convinced them to get you involved and to hide the real reasons behind the money transfer request.

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