Australia: Criminals using fake job ads on Government website JobActive to dupe people into laundering money

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June 21 2016

International money launderers are using an Australian Government employment website to lure unsuspecting job-seekers into becoming money mules.  The criminals offer fake jobs on the website JobActive, and trick users into handing over their personal bank account details.

JobActive is a job search portal run by the Department of Employment, and has about 275,000 registered users.  Victims of the money laundering scams receive cash in their bank accounts after applying for the fake jobs, and are told to transfer the money to strangers overseas.  Melbourne woman Poonam Kala was recruited for a money laundering operation after applying for an administration job on JobActive last year.  One morning, she received an email from her “HR manager” telling her that $15,000 had been deposited in her bank account.  Ms Kala was told to withdraw the cash and send it via Western Union to a woman named Anna Petrova in Warsaw, Poland.  Ms Kala said the bank put a block on her account after she tried to send a portion of the money by electronic transfer.  “They said, ‘we understand what you’re doing, but we just want to let you know the money you have received into your account is stolen money’,” she said.

In a statement, the Department of Employment said it had seen an increase in fraudulent job advertisements this year.

“Additional protective measures are being implemented in response to the increase, including stronger messaging on the site cautioning users to check or research employers before applying for jobs,” it said.