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Someone I know was convicted of several felonies with a lengthy probation sentence due to falling for a particularly nasty "Personal Assistant" scam. Unlike standard scams, which try to get money from the victim or their bank, this scam made the job applicant their "money mule" to launder money they illegally obtained from other sources then funneled through the "assistant". I've found the same patterns of text in the same personal assistant ads for the past three years all over the internet and believe that thousands and thousands of people are falling for this every year. In one particular case, they were able to steal around $50 million and launder it by depositing the stolen funds in the accounts of "personal assistants" they recruited online, then asking those personal assistant to wire it to other individuals, usually overseas. Hopefully the FBI is pursuing these criminals by now but they are still actively posting job ads all over the internet such as Craigslist. If anyone is interested in helping I will show you the specific ads I am talking about so you can watch for the same pattern and try to apply for a job with them in order to bait them, with the understanding you should never give them any account numbers! Conspiracy as well as receiving stolen property are serious charges so we don't want to get too involved, just waste their time and get info. Anyway, I've heard of many romance scammers stealing money from people but recruiting people who are simply looking for work and turning them into convicted felons, all because of their gullibility, this is probably the worst scam I've heard yet. They also use the personal assistants in check fraud and reshipping cons. (I'm removing the link but just send me a private message for the details).
Juan Freizwidatt Associate
Joined: 18 Apr 2004
Location: Hanging out at In-n-Out
Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:40 pm
Sadly, such scams are extremely common. Craigslist and other sites are swimming in 'work at home' money mule scams. We deal with a great many victims at our sister site, scamwarners.com. These are insidious scams since many victims are desperate and leap at a chance to get a "job" working from home. The scammers are usually in other countries so the victim ends up being the one that authorities target, as happened to your friend.
Although these scammers are baitable it is tricky unless you have a 'drop box' to safely receive fake checks to pass on to law enforcement.
The best defense against such scams is education. Spread the word to everyone you know!
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