Red Deer RCMP recently encountered a new take on the cheque cashing scam, when three male suspects approached two men who were at a downtown employment agency looking for work. The suspects invited the men to get in their vehicle, saying they were taking them to be interviewed. The men were taken to a coffee shop and asked for their résumés; one of the suspects then departed, and came back a short time later with cheques made out to the men and bearing the name of a local company. The suspects asked the men to cash the cheques using their own names and identification, saying they could keep a small portion of the money and turn the rest over to the suspects. At this point, the victims were aware something was wrong, but were intimidated by the suspects into carrying out their orders. The victims were located and interrogated by police and the cheques proved to be fraudulent, but the suspects have not been identified. RCMP have not laid charges against the victims for the roles they unwillingly played in these criminal acts, and continue to look for the three suspects.
The suspects are described as three black men in their mid-30s; two had heavy accents and the third, the ringleader, spoke with no accent. The ringleader called himself “Big Pop” and “Biggie Smalls.” They drove a newer black Jeep Cherokee.
In 2014, Red Deer RCMP also reported on incidents where criminals posted fake job offers to various websites or emailed job offers to people who were looking for work online, listing them as customer service positions, “money transfer agent” or “payment processing agent.” They ask employees to receive large sums of money in their personal bank accounts and to then make international wire transfers of the money. They offer employees a small portion of the money as payment.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website contains useful information on how victims can avoid getting unintentionally involved in criminal money laundering; the website included reports of criminals targeting job seekers in Canada, the USA and the UK in order to recruit them as money laundering mules.
RCMP remind job seekers that money laundering mules are committing criminal offences and facilitating the destructive work of organized crime syndicates. Learn more about how to protect yourself from scams, frauds and unwitting involvement with criminal elements: www.antifraudcentre.ca.