A Limestone Coast resident has fallen prey to a money laundering scam.
Money laundering is the act of disguising or hiding the origin of money that has been obtained by unlawful methods.
Scammers typically use banking systems and money transfer services to break up large sums of money by having smaller sums divided and deposited into several different bank accounts to avoid arousing suspicion.
In this instance, the victim was asked to accept money from the scammer, and deposit the funds into multiple bank accounts, both in the United States and Africa.
The victim and scammer met online, forming a relationship over more than a year.
The scammer became aware of the victim’s bank account details, and attempted to make withdrawals from the victim’s bank account.
Luckily the scam was intercepted by the victim’s financial institution before the transaction was completed, however many victims are not so lucky.
Australian residents are seen as a particularly attractive target to overseas scammers. Scammers can be very practiced and convincing, and are able to form relationships and gain the trust of their victims over a period of weeks, months, and even years.
Once the victim stops or refuses to send money, scammers may quickly turn abusive and threatening.
Scammers involved in these types of operations are often sophisticated and based off shore, which can make the identification and prosecution of the scammers an impossible task. Most victims will never recover their lost money or see the scammers held accountable. In some cases victims have even been charged with criminal offences for having taken part in scams such as money laundering.
Money laundering is just one example of scammers tricking people into parting with money. There are various techniques utilised by scammers. They may utilise door to door sales methods, email, telephone, computer, letter, voucher (such as iTunes vouchers) and even dating sites. Scammers prey on the vulnerable in our society and offer money or rewards that will never eventuate.
How can you avoid being the victim of a scam? The answer is quite simple – never send, transfer, or accept funds from a person you don’t personally know. Never send or give out any personal details including account or PIN numbers. Remember –if it’s too good to be true generally it is!
Further information is available at www.police.sa.gov.au or contact the Limestone Coast Crime Prevention Section on 8735 1049.