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How International Money Transfer Scams Work, Part 2

Need to make an international money transfer?  If you're sending money to a family member or paying rent on your overseas villa, that's great. But if you're responding to an advert that asks you to receive money in your bank account (or via an international money transfer), then pass it on via money transfer ...beware.  You could unwittingly become part of an international money laundering scheme! Don't get caught in this kind of trap. In our last post, we learned about how most international money transfer scams work.  This week we'll show you how money laundering takes place all over the world...involving people just like you.

You could get caught up in a foreign money transfer scam involving money laundering.

We'd like to help you protect yourself and your loved ones from becoming victims of international money transfer scams.  These are set up for the express purpose of stealing your money. But very often what's behind scams is an international money laundering operation.  Their primary goal is to filter "dirty" money through you so they can continue with whatever nefarious business they're profiting from, untraceable and Scott-free. Unlike the foreign money transfer scams we learned about in the last post, these scams aren't designed to steal your money. They're designed to filter illegally-procured money through a seemingly legitimate operation, in order to hide the original source.  And very often this takes place through international money transfers and people like you. How does this work?

Are you about to become part of an international money transfer scam?

If you're ever asked by a stranger to send money overseas, your alert sensors should go up immediately. There are scammers out there who prey on unaware people.   Unfortunately, these criminals make use of international money transfer services to perpetrate their crimes.  That's why we'd like to step in and make sure all our customers are informed. If you've ever accepted money (through an international money transfer or otherwise), then re-sent it back to an overseas account, then you might appear to be a money launderer yourself (on paper, that is). And that's not the worst of it.  In most countries, you can be prosecuted for taking part in a money laundering operation.  You probably will be prosecuted, too, since this is often related to terrorism and at this point, governments are cracking down hard on any terrorism-related activities...especially those related to their financing! Banks, as well as non-bank financial institutions have become quite high-tech these days.  They have sophisticated ways of flagging unusual activity in their customers' accounts.  Of course it's for your protection, as is the information we're giving you here in this post. We know many people are simply unaware of how money laundering works, and thus may easily become victim to scammers who employ everyday people to legitimize their illegally-won money.

Money laundering scams and ACE-FX

In a report on the use of money remittance and currency exchange providers and the role they sometimes play in money laundering, the Council of Europe's Financial Action Task Force indicated that small businesses are more subject to takeover by criminal organizations. Of course we do our best here at ACE-FX to keep our customers aware of money laundering practices, and to prevent inadvertent use of our services by criminals.  We partner with one of the largest and oldest money transfer and currency exchange operations in the world: MoneyCorp.

ACE-FX is on the lookout, too, for your protection!

Just a few years back, Moneygram International admitted to several violations of anti-money laundering and wire fraud regulations.  Money transfer companies must do their part too, in order to protect their customers and stop money laundering. You'll note at the bottom of our website certain statements about money laundering regulations (like "Money Laundering Regulation Number (MSB): 12429742. Issued by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)). That's our way of letting you know we're on top of this!

Be on the lookout for these red flags.

So keep in mind: if you're asked to send money overseas to someone you don't know, whether or not it's in exchange for anything (like a fee), there are several red-flag indicators to remember:
  • the transaction amount is just under the amount that would trigger more regulatory procedures like reporting or customer ID
  • you're asked to declare that you know the person to whom you're transferring money, even if you don't
  • you're asked to do multiple transfers over time, for similar amounts

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