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Money Laundering Scams EVERYWHERE!

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Active Member
Marjorie B Member Since: Apr 24, 2018
1 of 22

I am being bombarded by fake jobs from people who want me to launder money by opening up an account or use my own account for them to transfer money into and have me send money out to their clients *** Edited for Community Guidelines ***is one of them. I will compile a list if you like. I'm considering calling to see if there is any interest in this from the FBI. It's harassment. I came to this site thinking I could find real admin work. I will keep applying but I strongly suggest that UPwork not allow job postings from anyone who has not been vetted and their payment method verified.

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 22

re: "I strongly suggest that UPwork not allow job postings from anyone who has not been vetted and their payment method verified."

 

Upwork does not do any vetting of clients, nor does it claim to. Essentially anyone who wants to is allowed to create a client account and create job postings.

 

There ARE restrictions on what kind of jobs can be posted. Some automated filtering is in place, looking for key words that are known red flags.

 

This doesn't mean that there all job postings are legitimate. There are dedicated scammers out there who routinely post jobs which are not real jobs, which violate Upwork ToS, or which are outright scams.

 

Upwork does not want this. But given their current business model and the relative freedom with which they allow clients to operate, they rely heavily on freelancers to flag inappropriate job postings and report fraudulant or predatory client behavior.

 

The primary responsibility for making sure that a client and job are legitimate lies with the freelancer herself.

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
3 of 22

On a somewhat "technical" note... Although many of the scams that take place on Upwork (and similar sites) appear to be "money laundering," or are referred to by some freelancers as "money laundering"... Genuine money laundering is actually very rare on Upwork.

 

The particular scam you describe probably is only posing as a money laundering scheme, but is most likely not an attempt to launder money at all, but merely a way to scam YOU out of your own money.

 

In genuine money laundering operations, you would earn some money while doing something illegal. What you see in this instance offers no chance at actually earning money, only the chance to lose your own money.

 

Either type of situation is a violation of Upwork ToS and could end up with you suspended or permanently banned from Upwork if you are caught participating.

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Active Member
Adrian H Member Since: Aug 26, 2020
4 of 22

I think there is a lot of money laundering going on using this platform.

 

After doing some digging, appears to be a vast network of accounts on Upwork that are purely there to move money.

 

It started with a user which I discovered was in fact a very good alias fake. Then connected this user to the only seller that had hired the fake. Now, this seller happened to exclusivly hire users that earnt less than $100 on the platform. Warming up the new accounts...

 

One distinct pattern to spot these networks in the early phase seems to be a seller that hires lots of workers that have less earnings than $100. Even though it would be far easer to use a single contractor to do the job. All users got 5 stars and glowing reviews.. very legit (on the surface) 

 

As these accounts age, the anti-is increased. Some of the older money laundering accounts seem to hire fakes/personas to do intangible jobs that last for years. One fake job was going for nine years and had paid out over 800 K for a job that doesn't seem legit at all. 

 

Giveaways on these older accounts include - job descriptions that are not relevant, lots of small hires, whilst maintaining legacy long-term hires. 

 

On the surface, there is clearly a huge money laundering operation going on in plain sight on upwork.com.

 

While I can't prove it beyond pointing out a bunch of fake accounts - I bet you upwork could prove it if they chose to. But that wouldn't be good for the shareholders now, would it?

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 22

Adrian:
It is an interesting theory that you present...


But how do you overcome the following argument that many people will make:

Upwork is not used for money laundering because Upwork charges fees - starting at 20% - which are so substantial that no responsible money launderer would actually use the site.

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Active Member
Adrian H Member Since: Aug 26, 2020
6 of 22

"20%  fees...  no responsible money launderer would actually use the site."
That's the cost of business - I think you'll find that is a very good rate to move lots of money - especially on autopilot (once established.)

Seems to be a good method that any reasonable money launder would take advantage of. Besides, it's not a theory that these platforms (all charging a similar rate) are being used to move money... you'll find many articles about this.

I wonder how much money is really going through these platforms. None of which have any incentive to to reveal or take any action on this - Upwork's 20% cut on this money and 'user-base' is directly related to the companies value. It's kind-of a Win Win situation. 

Other than comply with the minimum legal requirements (which the criminals are clearly getting around) - why would they investigate this further..?

They don't. I've emailed Upwork a details, inclusive of hard evidence of fake users that circumnavigated their verification process - and guess what? No response, no action... I don't know, maybe it's not in their benefit to do so. 

Just out of interest, what's your affliiation with upwork? Do thye pay you ti write on this fourm or is it a personal passion?

 

 

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Community Guru
Bill H Member Since: Aug 18, 2017
7 of 22

Adrian,

 

You state "I think there is a lot of money laundering going on using this platform." I think there's a lot of leprechaun breeding going on using this platform. Neither statement is true, and were they, would make no difference.

 

Money laundering is a very specific type of financial crime. As Preston noted, in money laundering everybody makes a lot of illegal profits. If you're participating in some sort of financial activity and not making profits, it isn't money laundering.

 

I notice you joined  today. Congratulations. A few notes: Don't hesitate to jump in on the community discussions where you have expertise to offer. This is not one of them. Fake accounts don't constitute money laundering. Fake transactions constitute money laundering. "...**Edited for Community Guidelines**

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Active Member
Adrian H Member Since: Aug 26, 2020
8 of 22

Hi Billy,

 

Arguing by comparing 'valid points' to something completely ridiculous dose not make it ridiculous. Regardless of how you try and downplay even the possibility that this could be occurring on the platform just makes you look bias. Agendas and alliances can bring the 'politician' out in people Smiley Happy

 

You think 20% is too hight of a cut? Wow. You really seem to know about this "very specific type of financial crime". 

 

"Fake accounts don't constitute money laundering. Fake transactions constitute money laundering. "

 

Yeah, using fake accounts... geezz

What would be the rate at which the 'money laundering business' is a profitable business model? 

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Active Member
Adrian H Member Since: Aug 26, 2020
9 of 22

don' take my word for it - see the 'Harvard University' research paper detailing this tactic:

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

 

Their's loads more of this stuff. I can see it myself.

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Active Member
Adrian H Member Since: Aug 26, 2020
10 of 22

Billy.. you maybe confusing 'money laundering' with 'embezzlement', its a very specific type of finical crime in which 20% woudn't be a good rate. 

 

It great you're a 'Community Guru" and I encourage you to keep up the posting within areas of the forum where you have some expertise. I'm not sure this one is for you though.

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