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Often the scam emails will include fake websites to make the scammer appear as if they are making contact from a real and established company. The fake companies the scammers use will often appear to be based in China, Hong Kong, Japan or somewhere else in Asia. Some may also claim to be located in the UK, Australia, or Canada. Many of them act as if they are in steel manufacturing or in the oil and gas industry, but a number of other business types are also used for these scams.
In some cases the scammers will also use names, websites, and addresses of an actual company to spoof victims into thinking that the scammer is representing a real company. Sometimes the scammers also have their own fraudulent internet domain name that will automatically redirect to the website of a real company to make things even more misleading and confusing for a victim. But the email address the scammer will be using to make contact in these instances won't ever be connected in any way to the real company. Thus, the body of the email may contain the name of a real company, a real company's address, a real company’s phone number and even a real company's website, but the scammer will most likely be contacting you by way of a free webmail email account like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc, and which isn’t affiliated with any real companies.
The most dangerous and convincing company representative scams occur when the scammer sets up their own fake company website and makes contact using an email address associated with their own fraudulent internet domain. The emails that come from fake company internet domain names are even harder for an unsuspecting person to detect when compared with when the scammer is sending emails from a free webmail email address.
The main job duty that the scammers will say is required by the scam victim is to receive and/or collect payments from so-called overseas customers and to then deposit those payments into one's own bank account. In exchange for one's service in helping to process payments for the fake company, the scammer will offer to pay the scam victim a percentage of the fictitious payments as so-called commission or "profit splitting", plus also offering a salary too in some cases.
It will sound like very easy and well paid work. The victim will be told that they will be working remotely, only part-time, from home, and for only a few hours a day, but this is the complete opposite of the truth. The victim is never actually paid anything by the scammer and the payments from customers don't really exist. They are just fake checks (cheques). And, as their company representative, one will end up committing bank fraud by acting as a "check-mule".
The "Representative Employment Scam" is also known as the “Fake-Check” scam. This is because, once the representative (scam victim) agrees to work for the scammer’s fictitious company then the scammer will immediately start mailing fake checks via postal mail to the victim as so-called payments from the fictitious customers. Then the scam victim (who has been tricked into acting as the scammer's overseas "representative") will be told to deposit the fake checks into their own personal bank account for check clearing.
The checks will usually be a fake check created using a high-quality printer and will include real bank account information within the check which will be bank account information that the scammer has stolen from a real company. Scammers may also use real checks that the scammer has stolen from a real company but then will fill in the checks with their own illegal payment information.
As long as the company account number that the check is to draw the money from has sufficient funds in its bank account then the fake-check may initially clear the bank and the money could appear in the victim's own bank account temporarily. But the check will then "bounce" later on into the future once the real company receives the cleared check back from their bank. This is when the real company disputes the fake-check payment with their own bank and causes the check to bounce. Other times the scam victim’s own bank may detect immediately that the check being deposited by the scam victim into the scam victim’s bank account is a fake check and this could result in the victim immediately having their bank account blocked/frozen and/or closed down by their own bank for fraud.
But the way the representative (scam victim) gets really scammed and loses money is in cases where the fake check initially clears the victim’s own bank account and the stolen money appears in the victim's account. This is when the victim is expected to immediately transfer that stolen money from the fake check (minus the victim’s so-called commission) to the scammer via either Zelle, Venmo, Xoom, CashApp, Bitcoin, Western Union, Money Gram, Ria Money Transfer, World Remit, or some other untraceable payment method.
The scammer will often be located in a different country to the victim, thus also making it very hard for the victim to ever catch the scammer. And by the time the fake check bounces (which can take anywhere from 1 week to 6 months), the money is already gone from the victim's bank account and is already in the hands of the scammer. Then the victim is left in debt to their own bank for the amounts of the fake checks that have bounced.
The victim loses the money permanently and it can amount to many thousands of dollars. In addition to financial losses, the victim will have problems with his/her credit rating in the future, may have difficulty opening a bank account ever again, and the victim may also be questioned and charged by the police with criminal charges for committing bank fraud.
The scammers will also attempt to obtain the victim’s bank account information when the scam first commences, which the scammer may then also try to use to illegally extract money from the victims own bank account via an unauthorized electronic bank transfer or possibly using an app like Zelle or CashApp.
Once the scammers have a lot of the victim's personal information then the scam can also lead to other things like personal identity theft and additional financial problems for the victim in the future.