34

I have a company offering a position as a transaction representative, they're located in Poland and say they can't take direct payments or use Paypal due to "money amount limits" on Paypal there. Therefore items the company has auctioned/sold (kind of like eBay, etc.) can't be paid directly or via Paypal if sold in America. They want me to accept payment via Paypal, transfer monies to my personal bank account, they provide me their bank account info, I then transfer the money to them less 5% commission and any transfer fees because they would pay any fees associated with this process. They are not asking for me to pay anything upfront nor any of my account information. Does this sound like it could be legit, can they get my bank account info in any way from me transferring money to them? Just never done anything like this so I'm a bit leary. I did look up the company and didn't find any scam or complaints concerning them. Please advise your comments, thanks.


Thank you all for your replies. I've copied and pasted the actual email received below for additional information / review. Your thoughts please.

This is the confirmation letter regarding your acceptance of our new offer.

This letter provides you with the details and our rules that will apply to your new position.

Read it carefully as there are several rules that must be adhere to:

  1. Redirect all e-mail traffic that you receive from our clients directly to us. *Do not under any circumstances reply to the messages or inquire for more information. Your relationship will be solely as the transaction processor, all administrative issues or otherwise will be handled by us. Any disregard of this rule will make our clients nervous and may cause them to stop any pending transactions. The average questions are usually about the pending sales or future sales, again this is our department, please keep in mind that one of your job requirement is to transfer any/all these inquiries directly to us.

  2. Please make an attempt to check your e-mail account twice daily, preferably in the morning and in the evening. This is a very important position and it should show that you are available to us at least during the business day.

  3. This is not optional. Please reply to all our email messages that we will send to you. Most of our transactions will depend on an answer back from you and we may have to stop a transaction if we cannot get in contact with you to verify your availability or clarify any errors.

  4. Most Important Rule: Please have your phone with you during the business day. (preferably without a voicemail answering system).

  5. Your position will be activated following a call from our company verifying your identity, the accuracy and operational function of the number that you have provided.

  6. Your 1st payment will be 3-5 business days after we have activated your account. It takes our company approximately that amount of time to make a sale.

  7. If you encounter any issues of any kind while working with us, Do Not keep it to Yourself, please inform us immediately of the issue and we will do everything within our powers to fix it.

  8. If anything goes wrong during the process of a transaction, please report it immediately. Do not ever think that you will be blame, remember nothing is your fault by letting us know what went wrong; you will help our company do its job better and improve our systems and quality for our customers.

  9. Please follow each daily instruction to the letter and without delay. Any delay on your part is a bad reflection on our company and slows down our processes. These have an effect on production which means poor profit for our company and for you.

  10. If you are planning any trips that will prevent you from fulfilling your duties, please inform us 2 weeks in advance.

  11. We count on you having both a responsible and respectful attitude towards this job and our team.

  12. Please respond with any questions that you may have regarding our rules and this job. Also state any concerns or issues that you may have which might conflict or prevent you from doing this job. If you think that you will be unable to fulfill the required duties of this job please let us know. A declination will not affect your future with us in anyway, it is better to tell us now then to fail at the job later.

Please confirm your understanding and acceptance of the job by answering with "I confirm" as a reply to this e-mail. This answer means that you assume full responsibility and are prepared to execute the rules (listed above) in working with us.

!!! P.S.: We are starting to call you from the same day when we get your details. Please be reachable by phone to show us your serious attitude to the job. !!!

Our phone is 12285888393, please add it to your visible list.

NEONET.PL

  • 14
    Keep in mind that they can change names overnight, or use a different name for every time they dangle a hook. This sounds 100% like a scam to me- I get such requests at least once a week - some of them with 'convincing' links to websites of real companies and names borrowed off the public executive roster. – Spehro Pefhany Apr 18 '16 at 14:12
  • 13
    There are no "money amount limits" on Paypal in Poland. I know at least one Polish ebay account with 50k+ sold items that only accepts PayPal as a payment method. – Alexander Apr 18 '16 at 14:13
  • 10
    Change some details of the exchange to the real world. I want you to help me send money from my home in New York to my friend in New Jersey. I'll give you $500, you write my friend a check for $450, and you keep $50. Why would I pay you $50 to just move money like that? You are not a banker nor a broker. – Freiheit Apr 18 '16 at 14:24
  • 17
    I think you will find that after the money has left your account, their PayPal "transaction" will be reversed, their money will vanish, and you will be left holding the bag. – Pierre Apr 18 '16 at 15:19
  • 9
    This could also easily be used to transfer/launder money from hacked PayPal accounts. The result will be the same, you will have lost your money, and could be charged with anything related to fraud, depending on your country of origin and the laws there. – dunni Apr 18 '16 at 15:24
84

This sounds like a scam. Did they email you out of the blue to offer you this 'job', by any chance, and you'd never heard of them before? That's an incredibly large red flag in and of itself.

While I don't know quite what the scam is likely to be, here's how I would suggest it might work:

  • They sell something to Person A for, say, $500
  • You get sent $500 by Person A via PayPal
  • After deducting your fees, you send $400 to the company, while waiting for the money to clear
  • The company quietly vanishes
  • Person A complains to PayPal that they never got the goods, or were scammed, or similar
  • PayPal refunds them and takes the transferred money back out of your account
  • You have now lost $400 and, for good measure, may be filed as the associate of a mysterious European scammer.

Other variants are possible - say using a cheque rather than PayPal, or having Person A be the scammer as well. But this being a legitimate transaction is very unlikely.

  • 3
    I think so I remember watching a documentary on BBC/C4 elaborating just what you said. – DumbCoder Apr 18 '16 at 12:14
  • 16
    Even if the company is Poland is "legit" (in any sense), you'll be in trouble for operating an unlicensed money transfer service under U.S. Federal law. – user32479 Apr 18 '16 at 14:28
  • 4
    @Brick relatedly, I wondered about the possibility of using this for money-laundering, if it's not a simpler scam. Either way, not good for anyone. – Andrew Apr 18 '16 at 14:49
  • 5
    Most likely it's a scam to get individual bank account numbers, as you addressed in your answer. If money is actually actively transferred, however, the OP may end up wishing it had "just" been a scam that cleaned him out. The fed regulations that I mentioned in the comment are there to prevent money laundering for criminal and terrorist organizations. Becoming involved in that, even unwittingly, would be a very, very bad situation. – user32479 Apr 18 '16 at 14:57
  • 4
    FWIW, this is also how the proceeds of most e-crime are laundered. Ever wonder how people who run fishing scams and malware rings and spam and other scam websites move their money? This way. For that matter, this is how a Ukrainian cyber-gang got their hands on $70 million from eBanking heists bank in 2010. – HopelessN00b Apr 21 '16 at 0:32
27

There are several red flags here.

  • You are not licensed to operate as a financial entity and/or transfer money (credits to @Brick - it does not apply only to USA).
  • You cannot be sure you are not participating in money laundering. Did they send you a contract?

can they get my bank account info in any way from me transferring money to them?

Probably yes. Almost all bank transactions are auditable, and intentionally cause a money track. This track can be followed from both sides. If they can use your bank account as if they were you, that is a bit deeper than what you are asking, but yes they (and the polish cops) can find you through that transfer.

I did look up the company and didn't find any scam or complaints concerning them.

Not finding scams or complains is good, but what did you find? Did you find good reviews, the company website, its register, etc, etc? How far back does the website goes (try the wayback machine) Making a cardboard front company is very easy, and if they are into identity theft the company is under some guy in guam that never heard of poland or paypal.

As @Andrew said above, it is probably a scam. I'd add that this scam leverages on the how easier is to get a PayPal refund compared to a regular bank transfer. It is almost impossible to get the money back on an international transaction.

Usually reverting a bank transfer requires the agreement in writing of the receiver and of both banks. As for paypal, just a dispute from the other user:

You are responsible for all Reversals, Chargebacks, fees, fines, penalties and other liability incurred by PayPal, a PayPal User, or a third party caused by your use of the Services and/or arising from your breach of this Agreement. You agree to reimburse PayPal, a User, or a third party for any and all such liability. (source)

Also, you might be violating the TOS:

Allow your use of the Service to present to PayPal a risk of non-compliance with PayPal’s anti-money laundering, counter terrorist financing and similar regulatory obligations (including, without limitation, where we cannot verify your identity or you fail to complete the steps to lift your sending, receiving or withdrawal limit in accordance with sections 3.3, 4.1 and 6.3 or where you expose PayPal to the risk of any regulatory fines by European, US or other authorities for processing your transactions); (emphasis mine, source)

So even if the PayPal transfer is not disputed, how can you be sure you are not laundering money? Are you being paid well enough to assume that risk?

  • I prefer this answer due to the very real legal aspect. I'm sure OP would need a state money transmitter's license and/or be registered as a money service business to be acting legally in this case. There are big fines and big jail time for people caught messing around here. – CKM Apr 18 '16 at 20:42
  • @CMosychuk what if OP is caught and found to be helping finance that big extremist group in middle east? Would he win a trip to that caribbean hotspot? – Mindwin Apr 18 '16 at 20:50
  • 2
    Violations; There's at least a few penalties, they get worse depending on the scope of the crimes. This includes failure to register as an MSB or renew/hold a license, and includes businesses that provide money transfer services of any sort, see finCEN. Fines get bigger, jail time runs up to 10 years in some cases. Funding terrorism.. <= 20yr imprisonment, 50K+ fines.. It's bad – CKM Apr 18 '16 at 21:06
  • @CMosychuk 20years, 50k+ fines, but you still get a trip to the caribeean, right? Or is Obama already shutting the "resort" down? – Mindwin Apr 19 '16 at 12:18
  • I honestly have no clue, but im pretty sure they're closing that. – CKM Apr 20 '16 at 13:12
6

Another reason to think it's a scam: fake paypal email notifications are a thing. I've seen one that was quite convincing (but it wasn't mine to properly analyse or report), so the intial payment may be a fake from another account belonging to the scammer, and you've just transferred money to the scammer.

The fake email can include links to log in to a fake paypal website, which can be quite convincing as the mark will give the login details which can be used to scrape data. Links not going to where they say is the giveaway here.

  • 1
    Also if you dig in the email metadata, you will see it is not really from paypal. But really good advice. – Mindwin Apr 20 '16 at 13:32
  • @Mindwin I could only assume that as the version I saw was on someone else's phone. But how many people would check the metadata anyway (and how many mail clients on phones even give you access to the full headers)? – Chris H Apr 20 '16 at 17:11
3

This is definitely a scam. I had a friend sign up for a very similar offer and what they did was send a fake check and then asked to transfer the same amount to them. So now you just send them a couple grand and you're holding a fake check.

3

This is definitely a scam. My husband was inquiring with a "company" that was offering him to be. Representative for them.

He got the same job details but the company was called Ceneo. I did due diligence and found that the real Ceneo has no problems receiving money directly from buyers around the world.

The fake company mirrored their website, posted jobs on the net,hoping to "employ" unsuspecting people in the U.S.

This is their reply to my husband when he asked the job details.

DO NOT GET SCAMMED and held accountable for money laundering.

  1. We pay taxes for each of you ourself once a year, but once a year we give you 1099 form to fill out so we will be able to pay your taxes. But you get your salary in full.
    1. First, you will receive a payment to your PAYPAL. Then you transfer the payment into your Bank account. When will all of the checks you send cash to our agent in your country. This is a convenient and safe way since you don't have to do international transfers.
    2. Currently we have approximately 200 agents in your country.
    3. You don't have to be in constant touch by phone. You will not to call your customers. When you receive the payment, our specialist will contact you and give you instructions. This is very important because it is necessary to do everything quickly.
    4. According to our laws we cannot take money from our customers. We only provide services. All legal. We have been working for a long time and our main task is to resist the fraudsters. We will never ask for your Bank details. We will not ask you to do international transfers. We do our business safe and give you the opportunity to earn together with us.
1

The sting here is definitely in the tail, the PS that says We are starting to call you from the same day when we get your details.
The initial email doesn't ask for details, it asks for commitment. Once committed, you will be more relaxed about providing details. This makes me think that this is more serious than a simple financial scam. This is an effort to steal your identity, and that could be much more serious than the one-off loss of a few thousand dollars. Here's why:
1. The scammer could get numerous credit cards and store cards in your name, run up thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in charges, and leave you stuck with explaining what happened. I know someone who went from being a multi-millionaire to a pauper in a few months when his identity was stolen - and he is no fool.
2. It will take you years to clear your name. Meanwhile, your credit is shot, and you might have trouble getting a job, renting an apartment, or simply getting a cellphone contract.
3. Once you've repaired your credit, the scammer can just go through his old files and do it all over again.
4. Cloaked in your identity, and therefore being seen as you, the scammer can pull any number of scams, for which you will eventually be blamed. Then as well as dealing with credit bureaus, you will be dealing with another, more serious bureau: the FBI.

protected by GS - Apologise to Monica May 14 '18 at 5:07

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.