Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake Charity Support Job - A Latest Money Laundering Scam

Beware! Its a Cyber World - - Summary:

Intensively penetrating email message offers the recipient a job as charity support worker in which he or she would be required to receive and process donations to help victims of the Christchurch earthquake and keep a percentage of the donations as payment for the work.

In fact, the email is a scam intended to trap recipients into involuntarily "laundering" the proceeds of criminal activities by accepting stolen funds and sending money back to the criminals via a money wire service. The scam email uses the name and logo of a genuine charity support organization without its permission.

Let's have a look to the contents of the mail:

Dear Friend,

I am James McCoy from [Name of charity removed], London, UK branch and i am contacting you to offer you a job to help our charity and also donate to New Zealand's present earthquake disaster in Christchurch.

We have so many good hearted charity supporter in New Zealand whom are willing to support the charity but they cannot make payment internationally due to some international bank charges that may apply,so we want to employ you to receive the generous gift giving to the charity and you will be our New Zealand manager of the charity as we do have a branch in Australia as well and it's working fine.

We have New Zealand generous donators whom are willing to donate to thid list below:

Cancer Research UK
World Vision Sponsor a Child
British Red Cross
The National Trust
Christchurch Earthquake

You will be paid 10% of each donation received for the charity by our New Zealand donators which will serve as your payment for your support and we will surely reward you more at the end of every month.

Please do contact me back if you are willing to take the job then i will instruct you further on what to do.

I hope to hear from you soon,

James McCoy
Donation Support Officer

[Name of charity removed] 
Beware! Its a Cyber World - - Explanation:

This email, which purports to be from a well known charity donor acquisition portal based in the UK, offers the recipient a job as the organization's New Zealand charity support manager. The email claims that the recipient's tasks would entail receiving donations to help those affected by the earthquake that devastated the New Zealand city of Christchurch in February, 2011 along with donations for other worthy causes. According to the email, a New Zealand based manager is necessary so that those willing to donate can avoid international bank charges when making contributions. As payment, the "manager" would supposedly be paid 10% of each donation received. The email includes the name, logo and other graphics associated with the charity donor portal.

However, the email is not from the named charity donor organization and the supposed job is part of a nefarious scheme designed to trick people into laundering the proceeds of crime. A person who accepted the bogus "job" would be asked to process "donations" in the form of bank transfers or cheques via his or her own bank account. The "worker" would be instructed to keep 10% of each "donation" and then send the remainder back to the "charity organization" via an electronic funds transfer service such as Western Union.

In fact, rather than receiving donations, the worker would actually be accepting and processing money stolen by criminals via other fraudulent activities. The purpose of this scheme is to convert the proceeds of other crimes into cash payments that cannot be easily traced back to the criminals responsible. For example, if a criminal uses a phishing scam to gain access to online bank accounts, he is not likely to risk detection by simply transferring funds from the compromised accounts to his own bank. This would leave an electronic trail that could be too easily followed by police. One way that he can overcome this problem is by roping in an unwitting accomplice who can "launder" his ill gotten gains. Job offer scams such as this one are designed to supply such accomplices.

By using such a scheme, the criminal will receive most of the proceeds of his theft in the form of untraceable cash. Meanwhile, the electronic trail will lead police directly to the hapless "worker" who has been tricked into using his or her own bank account. Once the fraudulent activities are discovered, the victim is likely to be left substantially out of pocket and facing the possibility of criminal charges.

It should be noted the scam email was not sent by the charity donor acquisition organization named in the message. The organization itself is perfectly legitimate and the name, logo and graphics were used by the criminals operating the scam without the organization's knowledge or permission.

Such laundering scams are very common and take many forms. People should be very cautious of any unsolicited job offer that involves receiving and processing funds via their own bank accounts and deducting a portion of each transaction as payment. No legitimate organization is ever likely to conduct its business in such a manner.

Moreover, scammers are always very quick to exploit major disasters such as the Christchurch earthquake. Other scam attempts that use the earthquake as a cover story are likely to be distributed in the coming days and weeks. Be wary of unsolicited emails asking for donations for earthquake victims. Those wishing to donate to earthquake victims should ensure that they do so via legitimate charitable or government appeals. Advance fee scammers are also likely to exploit the earthquake as they have for many other natural disasters in the past.

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