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ASIC warns of new e-mail scam

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has issued a warning to consumers to be wary of a new e-mail scam that's in circulation that invites users to participate in a "work from home" money transfer scheme.ASIC said the scam offers users a commission to receive money into their bank accounts and transfer it out again, advertising itself as a legitimate money making opportunity.
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Written by ZDNet Editors, Contributors on
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has issued a warning to consumers to be wary of a new e-mail scam that's in circulation that invites users to participate in a "work from home" money transfer scheme.

ASIC said the scam offers users a commission to receive money into their bank accounts and transfer it out again, advertising itself as a legitimate money making opportunity.

Director of consumer communication for ASIC, Dr Michael Dunn, says the scam is similar to the Nigerian letter scam that asks the recipient to take delivery of a sum of money for a commission ranging between 7 to 15 percent.

"The promoters have sometimes dressed up their Web sites with logos from reputable banks (without the banks' permission) to make the dodgy offer appear more credible," he said.

Dr Dunn says the scammers use inventive excuses to trick the recipient into believing the scam is real, however he describes the tall-tales as a little "too good to be true".

"Unless there's something shady, why would someone pay extra fees for transferring money through your account to someone else?" he said.

In an example of one such e-mail received by ASIC, Dr Dunn says the e-mail that claimed to be from Germany said the transfer scheme was designed to "get around a supposed '25 percent tax' on money transfers between Australia and German companies".

According to Dr Dunn, ASIC followed up on the claims and found that no such tax exists, saying the story is most likely a foil to get to consumers' bank account details.

"ASIC suspects the offer of commission is just a bait to lure unsuspecting people into giving their banking details and other identification, as a first step to extracting money for various fees, in a similar way to the better-known 'Nigerian letters' and fake lottery scams," he said.

Dr Dunn advises computer users to delete the e-mail if they should receive it, asking consumers not to "encourage scammers by replying".

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