Investigators are warning Mandarin speakers in the GTA that they’re being targeted for a scam by fraudsters pretending to be Chinese authorities. The scammers typically accuse their victims of money laundering, as shared by the police.
Extortion Scam Targeting GTA Mandarin speakers
Toronto’s Mandarin speakers are the newest victims of a new fraud and extortion scam. The victims (who are from the GTA) are contacted by the suspects via instant messaging or via phone and made to believe that they are talking to Chinese law enforcement officials and authorities, as shared in a recent Toronto Police Service news release.
The Toronto Police is working with a multi-agency group of law enforcers that partnered together to fight cross-border fraud schemes – called the Toronto Strategic Partnership. They stated that the suspects accuse their victims of money laundering and then threaten them about arresting them or seizing their assets.
How The Scam Works
The suspects ask the victims to prove their innocence by sending money wire transfers or cash so that they can investigate and examine the funds for fraud. The scammers never return the money.
Police are making it clear that they won’t ever ask suspects or witnesses to send money transfers to investigate or examine a possible fraud.
How To Spot a Money Laundering Scam
Real money laundering scams exists, but they are not the same as above. Money launderers typically get someone out of their organization to ‘launder’ funds for them by having the victim use his/her own account to accept ‘dirty’ money and then send it to the money launderer as ‘clean’ money.
The scammer would often claim that they have a currency conversion or a bank incompatibility issue to lure a victim into laundering money for them by making ‘dirty’ money go through ‘clean’ channels. Sometimes they claim that they need an overseas agent to facilitate transfer of funds by accepting funds into their account and withdrawing a sum to be sent as a wire transfer. The goal is to ‘clean’ stolen or ‘dirty’ funds so that law enforcement will have a difficult time following the money trail.
Prevent Being a Victim of Money Laundering
The money that is typically laundered are the proceeds from online fraud, funds from stolen bank accounts, and payments for nonexistent eBay items. Sadly, the agents or people used by the scammers for money laundering are usually the ones who get arrested even when all they did is to help someone transfer funds, not knowing that the person they are helping is part of a criminal network involved in money laundering. The hapless agents are the ones who often get arrested and left to answer for crimes they did not commit.
Plenty of naïve or nice helpful people are victimized by money laundering networks each year, with some thinking that they were simply hired for an easy job of handling legitimate money transfers for a company that doesn’t really exist. The best way to avoid being a part of any money laundering scheme is to educate yourself scams like the ones mentioned in this article and to stay away from easy job offers where the main job is transferring money or buying equipment using your own account. Remember that legitimate companies would have no issues having their own account.