The World Wide Web: New home for money launderers!
Money laundering has come far from the old-fashioned days of briefcases full of cash being moved around. In the contemporary era, the Internet provides a far easier ÔÇô and less noticeable way ÔÇô of turning black money, usable. Here are some of the ways that criminals launder their money in the age of the World Wide Web. You need to know the same to be alert of ways you too may be targeted:
ÔÇó Online gaming: Online gaming is a popular way of whitening money. It usually involves opening multiple accounts under different names in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). Many of these games allow rewards earned in-game to be transferred as money to the real world, and also allow real money to buy improved weapons and equipment. While this method may work for committed launders, customer risk is close to zero because they are not directly targeted.
ÔÇó The mule: The Spam folder in your email is a good indicator of how these schemes work. Most are polite messages from people with honorifics asking you to help them out of dire circumstances by accepting a money transfer on their behalf. Some correspondents claim to be princes or business leaders under siege in their home country. Others want help with an inheritance. While some of these emails are merely scams that want to bleed money from gullible recipients, others are actually launderers who will follow through with the transaction and place large sums of money in consumer accounts. They will then cajole and threaten to have the money transferred further into other accounts. Remember that accepting black money is a crime, so donÔÇÖt receive funds from people you donÔÇÖt know.
ÔÇó The job offer: This is a twist on the standard mule. You might be contacted about a lucrative job offer, where all you have to do is accept transfers and re-route them. It might seem like a reputable job but is, in fact, a means of making you complicit in money laundering. Again, never accept money from senders you donÔÇÖt know.
ÔÇó Identity theft: This can prove very dangerous for end consumers. The process starts with criminals assembling enough information about your personal profile to impersonate you and take control of one of your bank accounts. Once that has been achieved, they can use your bank account to transfer and re-route funds without your knowledge. Guard against this process by not divulging financial details to strangers. Keep an eye on all your bank accounts and respond immediately to login or authorisation requests that donÔÇÖt come from you.
Money laundering tactics that target end consumers are quite frequent, but easy to defend against. Vigilance and quick action are the best recourses. If you're ever in doubt, let your bank know immediately, and alert the authorities.