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I talked to this guy that is always posting about earning money without having to do anything and I asked him "how did he do that?" He told me that his aunt was the leader in a temp service job and what she would do was to sign a check in my name as if I worked there and then he would send me the money by mail because he is in the US and I'm from Portugal.

I don't fully understand how this would work and so I wanted to know if what his aunt is doing was even legal and if I should go forward with it?

The last thing I want is to get in trouble for things that I don't even understand.

  • 79
    Believe it or not, theft is illegal in the US. – Ben Miller - Reinstate Monica Jun 17 '15 at 0:22
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    Ben, can you provide a reference to back up this statement? – JTP - Apologise to Monica Jun 17 '15 at 2:10
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    She "signs a check" and he sends you "the money"? He sends "money"? Or he sends the check? Why does he send it rather than her? And then what? (I suspect I know what comes next, but you don't actually indicate that anything comes next.) – user2338816 Jun 17 '15 at 8:05
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    @JoeTaxpayer statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.31.htm#31.03 – Paul Jun 17 '15 at 23:37
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    Believe it or not, I'm the attorney of the late Prince Mumwagwa Buangu from Botswana. Due to ongoing tribal wars, the rightful heirs need assistance in getting the family treasure worth 75 million dollars out of the country. If you are willing to cover some minor administrative fees on the order of 25,000€, I would be happy to reward you with 2.5 million once the transfer is done! (darn it, I should have written this in pidgin English...) – Damon Jun 19 '15 at 18:02
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The way they are tricking you is that they will ask you to send some of the proceeds of the check back to them, after you deposit it in your bank account.

So, lets say they send you a $2000 check. You deposit it, send them $500 over western union. And then the bank pulls all $2000 out of your account (the value of the check), leaves you with a negative $500 balances and freezes your account because it took them 3 days to figure out the check was bad.

You'll also be in trouble with several authorities. (Whether you send the actual fraudsters money or not)

The people that "enlightened you" made some money. They get away with it because you don't know their name or anything, the check was written in your name, which is the main paper trail. There is no temp agency.

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    Absolutely. If it sounds too good to be true, that's because it isn't true. – keshlam Jun 17 '15 at 3:24
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    They might be engaged in money laundering rather than check fraud. – Mark Jun 17 '15 at 6:56
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    For further information on why noone will give you their wealth confer link. – user3819867 Jun 17 '15 at 10:55
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    This post is one plausible theory of what they're up to. But with the minimal information given, they could have any of dozens of other scams in mind. So if they don't try to pull this particular scam, don't assume that that means that this is legitimate. – Jay Jun 17 '15 at 13:42
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    Kind of a tangent, but why does depositing a bad check get you into trouble with the authorities? Isn't it the fault of the person who gave you the check? How are you supposed to know if it's good? – Mehrdad Jun 19 '15 at 9:15
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When you do this, you might be involved in online banking fraud - and you will be both perpetrator and victim!

Hacking some online banking users is easy. There is a flourishing black market where any wannabe hacker can buy a banking trojan. Then the hacker just has to infect some random computers with said virus (through email spam, drive-by downloads exploiting a browser vulnerability, upload it concealed as other software on a piracy website, etc., etc.) and it will trick the user into sending money to accounts they don't want to send money to.

However, what's not so easy for the hacker is holding on to the money, because sooner or later the victim will notice. In case of online banking fraud, the bank is usually legally required to pay back the money the customer lost. Banks will usually reverse the transaction when the customer reports that they were hacked. So what do the criminals do?

They hire some gullible fools out for easy money as "Mules". The job they offer: "We send money to your private account, you send it to another account we specify, minus your commission". What happens next?

  1. The hacked Victim inadvertently sends $2000 to account of Mule.
  2. Mule sends $1500 to the bank account of Hacker in some remote country, keeping $500 for themselves
  3. Victim reports fraud, bank reverts the transaction from Victim to Mule.
  4. The $2000 are booked back from Mule back to Victim.
  5. However, the $1500 transaction from Mule to Hacker was completely willing and intentional. Mule's bank has absolutely no reason to reverse it, so Mule is out of $1500. When Mule wants that money back, they need to go through legal channels. That, however, means that they will have to answer some very uncomfortable questions, like why they appear to be involved in the activities of an international criminal organization for financial gain.

So the actual victim in this scheme is the mule.

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    And moreover, Mule → Hacker transaction uses a non-reversable transference, like Western Union. – Ángel Jun 18 '15 at 13:20
  • And how does the hacker make sure that I'm willing to send him the money isntead of keeping it or even taking the money and go with this to the police? – Zaibis Aug 14 '15 at 12:53
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    @Zaibis When you do that it doesn't matter. As I said, accounts to hack are not a scarce resource, mules are. When you keep the money, it gets reverted and everyone (victim, you and hacker) get out plus/minus zero. When you go to the police, they might start an investigation, but a clever hacker will know how to avoid being traced. In either case, the hacker will just keep looking for mules. – Philipp Aug 14 '15 at 15:31
  • +Zaibis I may have misunderstood your original question, but it sounds as though the Aunt is going to cash "your" check in your name, then send you money. So, she cashes $2000 check, keeps $500, sends you $1500. Reversal happens, you lose $2000 and the Aunt keeps her $500 leaving you at -$500. Not sure if she could cash a check under your name, but this is how it sounded to me. – Skyl3r May 13 '16 at 13:26
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    @Zaibis Since you are dealing with criminals, there is always the chance that you will get an unwelcome visitor if you keep the money. – gnasher729 Jun 9 '18 at 11:21
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You didn't say why this person or his aunt would want to give you money. What service are you performing for them? Why would he want to give you money?

Simple, practical tip: If somebody offers to give you money for nothing, or a large amount of money for a trivial amount of work, there's about a 99.99% chance that this is a scam. In real life, it is disappointingly rare for millionaires to pick random strangers and give them money for nothing.

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    And if they do (chance is much less than 0.01%, I'm afraid), they won't need such a complex scheme. – o0'. Jun 17 '15 at 8:55
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    @Lohoris Good point. If someone says, "I saw your name on the Internet and decided I would like to give you a million dollars for no reason," I'd say the odds that that is legitimate are pretty small. If they went on to say that before they send you the million dollars, they need you to send them $1000 to bribe some official or prove your good faith or something, the chance that this is a scam rises to so close to 100% that, well, I'm sure playing the lottery has better odds. Sitting on your front lawn waiting for money to fall out of the sky probably has better odds. – Jay Jun 17 '15 at 13:37
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    @Jay : Better odds indeed. Because it happened at least once after a cargo plane's door fell out (I don't remember where did I read it, but it doesn't sound too implausible). However, I'm pretty sure there is no reported case of receiving the 1 million dollars after sending them the $1000 fee. – vsz Jun 17 '15 at 15:26
  • You mean John Beresford Tipton isn't in business anymore? – DJohnM Jun 18 '15 at 1:23
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    Obviously if I genuinely wanted to give you 1 million dollars and if I wasn't willing to pay the fee, I would pay the $1,000 fee for you and send you $999,000 dollars. For the same reason, no lottery will ever, ever ask you for money to send your winnings to you. They will pay whatever fees there are and deduct it from your winnings. – gnasher729 Jun 9 '18 at 11:24
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Money has to come from somewhere. It can't just appear. So if there is really an aunt at an agency, and she is sending checks, then she is writing checks from that company, and stealing from that company. If that is the case, then the person with whom you are in contact would be using you to launder money (hide its illegal origin) and when the aunt was caught, you would be also. If it is really being done between countries, then it might be more difficult for them to find you, but it is still illegal.

However, it is also likely that your contact may be using a common scam, as described by another answerer, that of asking for money in return for a cashier's check. Although cashier's checks were designed to be "safer" than regular checks, in that they won't bounce, if it is a fake cashier's check, it was never worth anything in the first place. When the bank tries to claim the cash from the other bank, and finds it doesn't exist, or there is no record of that check, then the effect is similar to that of a personal check bouncing: the bank will want the money back.

If you have already given a portion of that money to your contact, chances are, when your find this out, he will be long gone.

I would not have anything further to do with this person.

Good luck.

protected by GS - Apologise to Monica Jun 9 '18 at 6:01

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