Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
I’ve had yet ANOTHER spam email from some dodgy, fraudulent company offering me alleged ‘part-time work in Europe’. For some reason I’ve had a load of these in the last couple of days so they must be targeting a lot of people at the moment.
Here’s what the scam email says:
“Hi, West Union Group is searching for a European representative in order to satisfy the requests of our well respected costumer. To be welcome to our team you need to be a communicative person and to possess the skills in proper customer care. We provide you with:
To obtain more information, please fill up the form below and send it to: [email protected]
[please delete spaces in the email address before sending it to us]
Best time to contact you:
Attached resume is preferable
Our operators will contact you and will assist all your questions.
Position available for European citizens only!
Best Regards HR Management of West Union Group”
It’s a total con. I knew it was bogus when I got it – interesting that they call themselves ‘West Union’ – so close to ‘Western Union’ which is a genuine company (though one that is used by a lot of fraudsters for grabbing money for themselves).
However, when I started to get a load of them I thought I’d find out the finer details of this particular con so I contacted Action Fraud, a government department run by the Attorney General’s office to combat rising tides of fraud in this country. This is what they said about it:
“The scam emails you refer to are a type of mass marketing fraud called ‘advanced fee’. Scammers email a number of people in the hope that some will fall for their offer. They ask for money in advance to secure something like a job or materials. Once you send the money they may come back and try and get more money from you or you may never hear from them again. Often if you reply to a scam you end up on a ‘suckers list’ and get bombarded with scams from around the world. There are other consequences that can happen – if you click on a link in the email it can start downloading malware, or malicious software, to your computer which can keep track of your keystrokes or start to collect data to steal your identity. You may also help fraudsters make more money by clicking through on adverts which take you to websites where fraudsters get money for each click through.
There are simple ways to protect yourself:
1. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Most employers won’t ask for money up front – if they do, it’s probably a scam.
3. Ask the embassy representing the country where you believe you will be working how to obtain a visa, and how much it costs. Check if the answers are the same. If its not it might be a sign of fraud.
4. Make sure you know who you are dealing with before you send any details – check companies house and do some research.
The Office of Fair Trading revealed this year that 73% of adults have received a scam email and around 1 in 25 adults have responded to a scam in the last year.
If you have been a victim of this, or any other, scam or you just want advice on how to protect yourself against fraud, contact Action Fraud. You can either go to www.actionfraud.org.uk or call our helpline on 0300 123 2040.
It’s really important that all fraud is reported – if you keep silent, you’re helping the fraudsters get away with it.”
So there you have it – it’s a ‘money-upfront’ scam. If you get any of these emails IGNORE THEM and tell everyone else to ignore them too. If you’ve been scammed by them and have handed over money, don’t be embarrassed. Lots of other people have done it too. Just let ActionFraud know and chalk it up to experience. We’ve all been conned at some point and we have to just learn from it and move on.