BBB concerned job seekers used to launder money
A couple of months ago the Better Business Bureau issued a warning about a so-called Canadian company that may have been tricking people into applying for jobs, only to use them to launder money. CTV News investigated and the operation shut down. Now the BBB says it appears to have started up again under another name.
It starts out with the promise of a job. Nadine Croxen of Edmonton was contacted after she posted her resume online.
“It was called Global Opportunities Federation," Croxen explained.
She says she was hired to make PowerPoint presentations to entice foreign exchange students to come to Canada.
“I didn't get paid at all," said Croxen.
And she says during the short time she "worked" for the company, she was asked to help facilitate a trip for a group of students by moving money through her personal account.
"As I was finishing up my second assignment, she said, 'There's something really important coming up – 15 students and one chaperone coming from Germany.' She sent me $2,700 email transfer to my direct deposit," Croxen explained.
She says she was asked to deposit the money into a Bitcoin machine and then asked to share the account information with her "employer."
"I thought, wow, OK it's a business transaction to help the kids," she said.
The BBB has a very different view of the situation.
“To have them being used as mules to facilitate money laundering," said Karla Davis with the BBB of Mainland BC.
Davis has seen this before. In March the BBB put out a warning about a company called the President Youth Program. CTV News talked to two people who had become victims, working but not getting paid and being used to transfer money into Bitcoin. CTV News confronted someone on the phone who had been calling the shots and shortly after that the website came down.
"We believe that they've come up again under a new name," said Davis.
She believes Global Opportunities Federation is being run by the same people. Just like the President Youth Program, it listed a fake address in Vancouver and when Croxen started to ask questions, communication stopped.
CTV News attempts to get a comment from Global Opportunities Federation were unsuccessful. When we tried calling the company’s number, it was not in service and there was no response to an email that was sent.
"Legitimate businesses just do not operate in that way," added Davis.
The BBB says to be very careful about dealing with potential employers who ask you to use your personal accounts to do company business and requests to purchase Bitcoin or cryptocurrency. Be suspicious of unsolicited employment emails and be wary of jobs that don’t require special training or licensing. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
“It's just devastating. I thought I was going to have money. I thought my life was finally going in the right direction I thought I finally had a job," said Croxen.