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What is Money Laundering?

L. S. Wynn
L. S. Wynn
L. S. Wynn
L. S. Wynn

The term 'money laundering' is typically used to refer to any financial transaction that was meant to be kept secret, but was eventually found out. In many cases it refers to the process of concealing a source of money, which is often earned by illegal means such as drug trafficking, health care fraud, and smuggling, just to name a few. Various laundering techniques can be used by individuals, groups, officials, and corporations. The goal of a money laundering operation is usually to hide either the source or the destination of money; in many cases it aims to make illegal transactions appear legitimate and legal.

How Money is Laundered

Money laundering involves concealing the source of funds obtained illegally by investing or spending that cash in legal venues.
Money laundering involves concealing the source of funds obtained illegally by investing or spending that cash in legal venues.

The money laundering process usually involves several steps that make it difficult to trace the original source of money. Some of these steps include transferring the money between bank accounts, breaking up large amounts of money into small deposits, or buying acceptable forms of money such as money orders or cashier's checks. The process is usually planned and organized to avoid being caught and facing punishment.

Some banks no longer accept money orders due to the potential for abuse.
Some banks no longer accept money orders due to the potential for abuse.

Perhaps the best way to understand the concept is to take a look at some common techniques. Suppose, for example, that an employee was stealing large sums of cash from her employer without getting caught. If she was to make large deposits into her bank account, some regulator (or computer program) might notice the unusually large deposits, thereby increasing her chance of getting caught. Instead, the criminal might launder the money by simply using the cash to make purchases and then reselling the items in a legitimate market. The money gained from these sales is 'cleaner' and the criminal is drawing less attention to herself.

Money laundering can be common when it comes to illegal drug trafficking.
Money laundering can be common when it comes to illegal drug trafficking.

Quite often, criminals will use the Internet as a tool to launder money. One group of people that are often victimized in the process are job seekers, quite often from Australia. These job seekers will unknowingly apply for fraudulent jobs that require them to give their bank information to the criminal, as the position requires them to transfer money and process payments. In many cases, people who think they were hired for a new job were actually part of a money laundering scheme.

The money laundering process usually involves several steps that make it difficult to trace the original source of money.
The money laundering process usually involves several steps that make it difficult to trace the original source of money.

Another common scheme to launder money involves hiring employees to package and ship stolen items, most of which are electronics. The employee is reimbursed for the shipping charges and paid with a fake check. The criminal is usually selling the electronics, most likely to people in foreign countries, in order to launder their money without being caught. The transaction looks legal because it appears to be nothing more than a buy and sell situation, when in reality, it is part of a bigger laundering scheme.

Possible Consequences

Actual money laundering operations are often complex and include multiple transactions; needless to say, the practice is illegal and can result in large penalties, fines, or imprisonment for the person or people involved. Another consequence of money laundering is the effect it can have on society: when money laundering rates are high, criminal activity can increase because the source of the money is usually earned through illegal activities. The economy can also be affected when large amounts of money is tied up in the laundering process.

Discussion Comments


Scam, scam, scam. These are all scams. Anything that you ever have a question about, you should just walk away. That little voice in the back of your head that is saying "this might be legitimate" is nothing but greed. If you have to post a question about it here, it is already a scam. Just walk away. It is not worth being ripped off, hassled, or jail time. No matter what you thing it might be, just walk away.


There are thousands of scams and we just have to cautious.


I was looking for a job online and there was a virtual assistant one that caught my eye for Rest LLC. I signed up with them for a trial period, the first few tasks were pretty simple. 1. Find some limos at nearby airports. 2. Find local newspapers and get their pricing. 3. Find several diets for someone with hypertension. But this last task has red flags flying around and a pit in my stomach.

They wanted me to contact a sculptor in the UK, where the "client" had purchased a rare sculpture from him while he was overseas and it had become damaged. The "client" wanted a recreation of that same sculpture. That was not too bad, but when the sculpture said he would only take Money Gram or Western Union as a payment, the flags started flying.

Today I received an email from Rest LLC stating that the client would like to wire the payment to me and that I was to go to Western Union and make the payment, I keep my bonus of 300.00 plus and extra 25.00 for opening a bank account. Something does just not feel right about it. Is this money laundering? Can I get in trouble for doing this? I have contacted my bank, they said any wire money would be good money, but the Western Union part has me in knots. Any assistance would be appreciated.


This is happening to me also.

I'm currently experiencing the same situation. I have a property in India which I had put up for sale. I got an e-mail from someone named Col. Dr. John O. Harry, who claims to have headed the Medical Department of the British NATO base in Libya. He has agreed to buy the property for the said price without having seen it. Until now, he has never contacted me over the phone and the reason he gives is that he is not allowed to make calls from his base. He has agreed to send me USD $1.4 million in cash disguised as medical documents.

I'm still getting mails asking me how do I want to receive the funds.

Please tell me your experience. Is it fake or real? What do I do?


I have been recently offered a job on one of the well known job portals online. But I am quite suspicious about this job as it requires me to receive some parcels from online stores and send them to customers outside the country and also I have shared my details like full name, home address, phone number and email id.

Now, I have received a parcel in my name when I opened it I found my name with someone else's address on the delivery notes. My suspicion is how someone can make payments online on my name when I am not paying anything for the goods purchased.

Secondly, I got a call from one of the online stores that my card details are not properly provided while online purchase but in reality I have not made any purchases. Please let me know if its a scam. As of now, nobody has asked me anything regarding my bank accounts.


I have a personal friend who is a wealthy business owner. His business partner is completely bulling him around. He came to me last week asking me to look at some bank statements. After I viewed them I realized that his partner has been transferring very large amounts from one account to another. However, the bottom line number doesn't add up.

I did complete calculations of all transfers, deposits and withdraws made by this individual from February 2011 through April 2012. The total amount of missing money is over $2.6 million.

I'm unsure what to advise him what to do. He is a hard working general contractor who would never be involved with these criminal actions. He wants to report this man to ensure that he doesn't continue to destroy his company. However, he has 50 percent ownership with this individual and he wants to be sure that he can't get in trouble for his actions.

Where does he report this?

Will my friend's company be able to remain a functioning business during the investigation period?


I am an overseas contract worker and I'm sending remittance to a foreign exchange bank. A co-worker encouraged me to transact my remittance to a certain individual with a higher rate and less charge. But I resist because this might taking a risk for a certain amount of rate.

I would like to know some legalities for this kind of transaction so that I can inform my colleagues about it before it's too late.


I got a check in the mail telling me the same thing, that I won a lottery and the money is to pay the taxes on the winnings. I feel and believe that this is a scam, too. What should I do? Contact the authorities?


I'm currently experiencing a same situation. I have a property in India which I had put up for sale. I get an e-mail from someone named Col. Dr. John O. Harry, who claims to have headed the Medical Department of the British NATO base in Libya. He has agreed to buy the property for the said price without having seen it. Until now, he has never contacted me over the phone and the reason he gives is that he is not allowed to make calls from his base. He has agreed to send me USD $1.4 million in cash disguised as medical documents.

I knew what I was getting into since I've been hearing a lot of scams in this respect. He asked me for my home address, which I gave him, to send me the courier.

Today, I received a contradictory mail saying that he had already sent the courier and was charged $27,400 as handling and insurance and that he was told that the person receiving the parcel (me) needs to pay $435 as a custom duty and in that same mail he tells me that he is waiting for my reply if it is OK to send.

He also adds a commission of 10 percent on the amount he`s sending as a gesture. To watch the fun, I've said yes, go ahead. Let's see what comes. I will trash his agent and hand him over to the local police.


I have been offered a job by Insurance Career Consultants LTD and they are asking to deposit money into my bank account, and I would then transfer it via western union to another account. Is this legal? Is this a scam?


My wife had a resume posted looking for a job as a secretary. She got a reply about it from an apparent businessman who is visiting his wife in the Philippines. Anyway, this man sent her $1,600 electronically into our bank account, and he said that we could keep $150 for starters, as long as we sent him the rest to the Philippines on a moneygram and after that, await further instructions. Is this money laundering, a scam, or both?


@Amy- really do I need a lawyer? I didn't do anything. It's mainly pointed at my spouse and whoever she was with, and I had absolutely no part in this. I love my job too much to do stupid things like this. I work nights and sleep days, I have 4 children whom I dearly dedicate my life to every day and that's why I work is for them.

But seeking an attorney? I don't know I feel like I can prove that I'm innocent. I don't think they can charge me with any of that because I didn't commit it. But I need real answers from anyone who thinks they know what might happen?


@jmoney23: It looks to me like you have some issues that are not easily solved, and especially not from online advice. My advice to you is to get an attorney, preferably one with a background in handling fraud cases. Even though you had nothing to do with this situation, I think you're going to need a lawyer.


Okay here's my story.

I work for a good company and love what I do, but there was an incident supposedly to do with my spouse. One day my spouse and someone else come up with a plan pertaining to someone at my job, so they make the accusation about this person, he gets suspended and then he returns maybe a week later, but my boss was waiting for the product for evidence, so supposedly, my spouse and her friend went on their understanding and brought the items and returned them to my company, but not for the money, but to get this one person fired from my job and I have no idea why.

So continuing on, my company is investigating it still, so I asked this friend of my spouse to come in and make a statement so more people will get involved and play as someone else. So when they went in to Human Resources to get that statement, everything hit the fan. The truth came out about what was going on, so it happened that, later that day, I got a call from my employer and Human Resources saying I'm suspended due to further investigation for fraud, money laundering and for putting my bosses in a bad situation.

So here I am, trying to seek answers and nothing. So what I'm basically asking is, why am I getting accused of something I was never a part of, and I didn't know anything. My spouse was lying straight to my face, eye to eye, and I'm upset about that fact. But why am I getting accused when there is no evidence to do with me? It's only my wife, and is that even fraud and money laundering? And I have no clue what's going on! Please let me know something. I really need answers please!


I hope someone might have a clue about my situation. I received a US Express mail package yesterday, marked return to sender. Someone sent the package with my name and address as the sender.

Inside the package were three US postal money orders, each for $850, also made out as if they were from me.

The name and address of the recipient of the package is the same as the person to whom the money orders are written.

I did not send this package, or take out these money orders.

I looked up the address of the recipient on Google, and it doesn't exist. I also tried to Google the name and address in general with no luck. The package had a tracking number, and it appears to have been sent from another state on the other side of the country, nowhere near my address.

I have no idea what to make of this. So far nobody has contacted me, so I'm not sure if this is a scam, or if someone is laundering money in my name and I accidentally found out? Any ideas? Thanks!


I have been asked by an internet friend to receive a bank to bank transfer of 800,000 from malaysia, which he says is from contracts he completed while working there. Any thoughts? He recently accepted a contract to work here in the usa and is waiting for his work visa to clear.

He does not want to pay taxes on the 800k or show that he is 'working' before his visa comes through, so he wants to have it sent to me, then have me withdraw money for him to pay his workers. Any help/advice? I was intending to open a separate account for just his transactions. Also, how could I find out if the money in malaysia is legit?


I used to clean houses for a living. About a year ago my husband my left me and our two kids. I have done everything to try to support my kids on my own.

I decided to post an ad online for my house cleaning services. I have had a few people from other countries send me checks, saying they are moving here and need my assistance. Well, I had three people say they sent me money and I received two checks that three people were claiming. Two of them told me the exact amount they were for, so I went, took my payment out and wired the rest to their travel agents. The next day one of the guys gave me all the detailed information that was on one of the checks sent to me.

The one who I accidentally sent some of the money to was demanding that I send him the rest and that the other guy is trying to scam us. Now I am all confused and I do not want to get into trouble. I was just trying to find more work so I could give my kids Christmas. They still won't have a Christmas this year and now I am afraid I will be in trouble. Help.


Never give out your account info. It's a scam to get that info and possibly access your account to withdraw funds.


After having put up my car for sale at one of the car selling websites, I have recently been offered (from someone who says is in marines and currently sailing, and based out of London) to buy my car in India. Without seeing the car he is ready to transfer funds to my account and have the shipping agent of his move the car to the UK from India. He is in a hurry to transfer the funds and is asking for my bank account. I was wondering if this is one of the money laundering scams. He promises to take the car after the money has been transferred to my account.

He wants to gift the car (5 years old) to his wife in London. I find it very fishy, since he is ready to pay without any negotiation. Anyone with a similar experience?


@acantu0488: Here's what your friend needs to do. First, contact her bank and see if they can transfer the money electronically *back* to the account it came from. If they can, she needs to have them do this as soon as possible. Then, she needs to tell the bank, embarrassing as it may be, what she did, and that she needs to get her account number changed and cancel all her debit cards on that account, and get new cards. Then contact the FBI herself with all the information about this man.

If the bank can't send back the money, then she still needs to tell them what she did, and ask them what she needs to do. And still contact the FBI.

This is a scam, and his threats of calling the FBI are empty, since he can't tell them what's going on, without telling them what fraud he's involved in.


I have a friend who was asked to work by this guy. He said he was a reputable business man working at renovating orphanages in Malaysia and told her she would be helping him with some business transactions, and in order to know if she could work efficiently, he deposited a large large large sum of money in her account and wants her to withdraw three-fourths of it and send in three different transactions to three different individuals.

She has not touched any of the money and has been stalling, as far as sending the money western union to where he wants. She has no contracts signed saying she would do anything and this guy willingly deposited this money into her account without ever meeting her. Is this stealing on her part? Is this a scam? Can she get in trouble? He has threatened her with the fbi because she is scared to withdraw the money and actually send it. I told her it seems sketchy but she doesn't want to jeopardize her future in any way by being involved in any money laundering scams. She needs help too, as far as knowing what steps to take next. Please help!


@anon209057: This is a *scam.* If you give these people any information, they will wipe out your bank account. It doesn't matter whether the company looks legitimate or not. They are con artists. Delete the e-mail and don't ever open any more you may receive, from them, or anyone who sends you anything Similar.


Does anybody know about the company elfis? I tried to find lot about this but I could not find anything. I have got an email about a job called a money transfer. They told me to keep 5 percent with and the rest of it I have to send it to the given name and address. The company has its website, phone number and address. It doesn't look like a fake, but I still want to know about this company. Can anybody tell me how to get the details?


I work at a store that does money orders. I have often come across people getting scammed via western union (almost always they are sending to Nigeria). Even when I tell them to make sure it is legit, they still always send it.

But my question is more about money orders. We have a customer come in about every week and buy a $1000+ money order. Then later in the day someone else will cash it. We checked all the bills and they were not counterfeit. We have filled out SARs (Suspicious Activity Reports) but nothing has been confirmed of wrongdoing. I am thinking why not just hand them the cash instead of paying the fee for a money order since money orders are cash only anyway where we sell them. Anyone have a clue what could be going on here, if anything? Thanks!


i have a question. somebody had sent me a valuable package from Europe to Asia. the courier had sent me an e-mail that i had a package and the contents are stated. the problem is when this package reached the Asia office, they put my luggage on hold and demanded a customs fee because they said their scan showed there was money inside. so i paid the money to clear and release the package.

after releasing the package from the customs office, the asian courier demanded another huge amount of money for the insurance and vat charge. My question is it possible that this is a way of scamming people?


Simply put: money laundering is the act of hiding large amounts of cash in the banking system that was earned through illegal activity such as drug sales or prostitution to avoid tax liability.

Income is usually 100 percent profit in most cases.

Scamming is stealing from people in creative ways.

Scammers will only be found guilty of laundering money if they were the ones who initiated a bank transfer. In most cases, the spammers will have you to initiate a bank transfer to their account and they will claim it as a gift. This makes your lost money tax free to them, and they will say you gave it to them of your own free will as a gift.


@dannys123: Is this a scam? In a word: yes. First, this person is not American, or if she is, English is not her first language. I'm an English major, and I've proofed papers for a lot of international students, so you can trust me on this one.

Also, she's been living in Africa and says to send the money to a "country called Nigeria" as if she's never heard of it? She's probably a native of Nigeria. Plus, some of the very first scams to come out like this are called "Nigerian bank scams."

If you send this money or account information, you might as well kiss your life as you know it good-bye. You'll lose all the money in your account, probably have 30 credit cards issued and maxed out in your name, and no telling what else.

Besides, why would you even consider sending money to someone you've only chatted with for three weeks?

Don't have any more contact with this person. Block his or her e-mails (because you don't know for sure if it's a man or woman you're chatting with), chat names, everything. You're an American and a lot of people in other countries think all Americans have yachts and gold-plated Cadillacs, and we can afford to be scammed. They also think we're stupid enough to fall for these scams. Don't be one of them.

Yes, you are being scammed. Big time. If I were you, I'd even cancel all my e-mail accounts and open new ones under other nicks. It all depends on how much personal information you've given out.

Bottom line: Get out now, and sever all contact. These people can be dangerous.


I've been talking to a new friend online for three weeks and she's said she's stuck in africa. her friend can't send the funds straight to africa so her friend will send me the money order, then i cash it then send her the money to Africa.

These are some e-mails she sent me. is this a scam? please let me know!

Hello Daniel,

How are you doing today, Daniel? It's been a while since I've chatted with you, but just thought you could be of some help on this. I just got back from the hospital and my daughter is doing much better now thanks to a friend whom i met here. she's a church member and really been helping and a nice person. The doctor told me to get some medicine and other stuffs which will be about $250 and right now I've used all the funds i have with me in helping the charities here and never knew such a thing could come up at this time because i believed i will be getting back to the u.s before now.

Daniel i really need your help now. if you could lend me with or get the funds and once i get back to the u.s and get paid for my trip here I'll have it returned when we meet in person. My friend here promised to help with some funds as well. She import and sell goods in other countries. she told me about a country named nigeria. She has a store there as well, and it's short of supplies but she told me her clients in the u.s who are owing her are not able to wire funds directly there. she really been nice to me and i like her. if you'll like to help me you can have the funds sent to her office assistant there so she could get supplies and she'll give me the amount in cash here since I'll be needing someone to help me pick it up here as well because I'm not a citizen.

I would really be glad if i could see you lend a hand in helping me. I'm expecting to read from you later today to know if i can send you the Western Union Information to help me wire the funds to.

Okay Daniel, I understand you and i thinks it's okay. My mom was a bead and jewelries seller before she died. She sold in bulk to her customer and they pay her little by little after selling the jewelries. She had some debtors owing her before she died. I tried contacting some of them so they could send me the money here. Some are willing to return the jewelries since they don't have the money and some are promising to send me some funds but they only told me they can't send funds straight down here so if i could get a friend Bank Information - BOA they could send the funds there and he/she can withdraw and have the funds sent to my friend office assistant so she could give me the funds here in cash to settle all the bills and get meds for my daughter as well.

Do you bank with BOA so the funds could be sent to you? Or maybe i could have your address so I'll let some send you the jewelries and you'll help me get it sold at a jewelers shop and have the funds sent asap. Please get back to me with the way you can help me out here. Keep in touch.


my very good friend who is 85 yrs old and has dementia lives with her daughter and lets her daughter do her banking for her. she doesn't drive, and goes nowhere to spend money, but her grandson checked into this and after four years of them living together my friend has about 300 dollars in her account.

Her grandson has taken money out as well (12 trips to atm in one day) and my friend doesn't know this. She doesn't think her daughter would steal from her. where has all of her money gone?


i lost around $810,000 usd by scammers.

now i am in the jail because i got loans from banks and users for them. maybe you think i am crazy but i was without experience.

i don't know what do I do doing now?



I received a check for $2800 from a company and they told me to withdraw the money from the check, take 10 percent as my commission and send the rest back to them through western union. Is this money laundering or scam?


Is this a money laundering or a scam?

You get a mail that someone will transfer money from a foreign bank account to my bank account The person will make it look like it's my money by showing my business investment. He managed to get get documentations proving that it's my money and sent me an application letter to apply for the transfer.

The person wants to share this money for which he will travel to my country. Please help. My friend could be in big trouble here.


I received a check in the mail along with a letter telling me of an opportunity for a part-time job as a mystery shopper. I was excited by the opportunity to earn extra money. I was a bit hesitant because the address was a po box. The fact that they wanted me to wire the majority of the money overseas was also alarming. I called and spoke to a gentlemen who swore it was all legal.

I deposited the check but i didn't withdraw a dime. i waited to see if the check would clear and it didn't. I'm glad that it only cost me $10 for the check bouncing.


Thank you! Unfortunately my mother sent the fax and deposited the check. After I got online and started locating all kinds of survey and WU scams, I called her and told her to stop the check and get new account numbers for her checking account. Now if she took my advice, I don't know as of yet.

But I will follow up with her in the morning to confirm with her that it is definitely a scam. Thank you, I hope she took my advice!


Tense, this is a scam!! Our local newspaper has done a couple of articles on people who were defrauded by this scheme. Go to the bank ASAP and tell them what has happened. Do *not* send that fax or any other information! I don't remember exactly how it works, but you can also call your area Better Business Bureau and they can probably give you the lowdown. But get in touch with the bank!


I am trying to figure out if this company my mom just signed up with is legit! They sent her a check for $3,600, and told her to deposit it into her account. She was then to fax over the deposit confirmation to supposedly release the funds. After the funds are released she is then to western union $2,900 with a fee of $200. She is able to keep the other $500 for herself, provided she do some secret confidential shopping at walgreens or wal-mart. It sounds a little questionable to me!

The company is called World Financial Survey, but the company name on the check is some wrecking company. The check was deposited today, so anything can help, before it is too late to stop the check. Thanks!


to anon1730: if your friend was unknowingly participating I don't think much harm can be done -- but I do think that is money laundering.


I was in a similar situation. A friend asked me to open a account to enable her to have cash deposits made into then she wants me to withdraw the cash sent and send it via bank to bank transfer into her account.


I was looking for a job on craigslist, and I received an email from someone who is looking for an assistant because he told me that he is out of town for the next two months. He just told me that he's going to sent me a money order for $5000, and I can keep $400 for myself as a weekly salary and send the rest of the money to an electronic company to buy some stuff he needs and ship them to the address he will give me. I want to know if this is money laundering? someone help me


can i get in trouble for receiving a WU money transfer if the money the sender used turns out to be stolen or illegal money?


What is this?

I was sent an email to go to Spain, open a non-resident account. Travel back to the US with this person from Spain, transfer money from one account to the other, invest it, and keep receiving small installments until reach 30 million.

What is that?

Is it safe?

Would I get in trouble?

Part of that email is pasted below.

Please let me know what it is, thanks...

My course to search for foreigner´s assistance is based on a professional consultation and it might also interest you to know that I have an understanding with the president of a local bank here towards a successful transfer of the fund from his bank.

I am a responsible man that is blessed with a lovely wife and three beautiful girls, my first daughter is 15, the second is 13 and the third is 11 and I have never hurt a fly. Also, let me say that it is my *absolute* responsibility to protect your interest throughout the duration of your stay here; therefore your visit to Madrid shall be without any *hitch.*

On your arrival in Madrid, please check into any hotel of your choice and contact me and as soon as we meet, we would go to the bank where you will open the nonresident account, that will not take more than an hour, thereafter we would go to the security company to authorize the delivery of the fund to the bank, enabling the deposit and for the onward telegraphic transfer to your account in your country. Though, you and I may choose to be transferring the funds to your country on installments, just to maintain a low profile.

Immediately the transfer process is completed, you and I will board the next available flight back to your country for the disbursement as agreed and to further investment plans before my family arrives. However, we intend to establish a company in your country after we have agreed on the fields in which we can invest the funds, and with your permission, we can appoint you as Managing Partner and Local Advisor of the company.

All expenses incurred in the course of the transaction must be recorded since we have mapped out 1% of the fund to take care of every expenses involved and I have an Agreement and memorandum of understanding that would protect our various interests throughout the duration of the transaction. I hope we continue with one spirit of understanding.

So.. what do you think about this?


I had an ad up on craigslist to sell a ring for $140. so I had got an email from someone saying that they would buy it and add an extra $70 for me to hold it. He told me he wouldnt be able to pick it up but his agent would. He would be sending a cashiers check for almost $5,000. he told me to deposit the check and after confirmed to take the $210 he owed me but then send the rest of the money to his agent (which the info would be sent with the check) through western union or money gram. is this money laundering?


Hi. I was wondering how any bank can be aware of the fast transfer like Western Union Transfers or else….

Cause they don’t have full information about you and you don’t open an account so they can't know from where did you get the cash money they just transfer it very quick and that’s it :s ‘cause here in my country I think they can't realized that money laundering can be made so easy or am wrong :s Thank you


Hello i have a person that wants me to open a Wells Fargo Checking account so somebody can wire money into this Account he said it had to be a Wells Fargo Bank is this Legal?


No, that is more likely a scam than laundering. More likely than not, the funds will look like they clear, only to be rejected a week or more later when they make it to the issuing bank. By the time the original funds bounce out of the account, the scammers have already withdrew the sent funds in cash.


My husband and I are trying to rent a house in a very small, rural town in the midwest. He posted an ad on Craigslist this week. Today he received an email from an individual that says they are in London England and wanting to start a branch office in this town and interested in renting the property. They want to send a cashiers check for $7,000, $1300 of which is the deposit we require. The rest they want us to send to an interior decorator so that they can begin decorating the place as an office (the house is on the courthouse square and has been previously used as an office). The person writing the email does not sound like a native English speaking person judging by the grammar used. Why would someone from England want to start an office in an obscure midwestern town? No mention has been made of what type of business this is. My husband thinks it's fishy. I found this thread about money laundering and the rental scam. Is someone trying to use us for money laundering?


No that is not laundering. I would make sure you can trust her before doing this. Just a bit of advice. You don't want her running away with all your hard earned cash. ;)


I have a fiancee that is from the Philippines. She used to live in Spain. She has an account in Spain but she moved to the Philippines and now she is coming here but she wants to use the money in her Spain account to pay for the ticket, So we were thinking to add her to my bank account and then have them wire the money to my account then she can withdraw it with her debit card in her country, Is that Laundering?


If I was "your friend", I would set up a new account at the bank instead of giving them their real account number. If the money is transferred, sit on it until an attorney can look into the situation. Don't try to spend it or move it from the account. If it's for real, the attorney fees are well spent. If may have saved yourself a lot of money or jail time.


I would like to know if, this is money laundry, my friend, was an heir from other country, their transaction is by email only... the bank from other country will transfer a money to him amounting to $1M, is this money laundering?

Please help my friend, he is confused....


This is an extremely popular scam used via the internet. Most of them tend to originate from Nigeria. There are many forms of this.

it is money laundering as well as counterfeiting. The checks that are sent to the victims are always large amount and are always counterfeit. the victim is always asked (eventually) to send back most of the money.

the bank cashes these checks then days later (after you have sent back most of the money by mail order) realizes that it is counterfeit, then gets you in trouble for cashing a counterfeit check. By the time the bank catches on, you have already spent your "10%" and sent of the other 90% to nigeria or some other obscure country. so now you get to pay back that large sum of money, most of which you happily sent back to the scammer. The crappy part? you had to work for your money. All he had to do was make a really nice fake check.

Lately this scam has been wreaking havoc in the word of internet classifieds.

If you are renting out a room you may get a lot of similar e mails from 20 something women saying that they will soon be moving to the states and wish to send you a large check to cover multiple months of rent up front. they send you the check, you cash it, then shortly after she makes up some excuse about not being able to rent the room and coerces you to keep a months rent but send a money order back to her for the remaining amount, which is only fair.

-this scam also takes the form of purchases. a buyer may contact you about buying the drumset you have for sale. then send you way too much and ask you to mail order the rest back to them.

these scammers are like you and me. they also think every day of better and better ways to get what it is that were all after. they are clever. just remember, there are no free lunches. if its too good to be true, it is.


i got an email about a job. all i needed to do was cash some money orders take my 10% off top and wire the rest. if the postal money orders are "real" can i get in trouble for wiring the money to someone over seas?


Without knowing too much about the situation, I think that your friend may have fallen into some kind of scam. I'd also assume that since she didn't knowingly participate, she won't be held responsible. If she were my friend, however, I'd advise her to see a lawyer or to contact the authorities. She may be able to help find the people actually responsible.


I have a friend who received something by us mail telling her she had basically won a lottery in another country. They had her call a number and she did and he got all her info.... bank acct number,, address etc..Well anyway yesterday they wired her 2,000 dollars into her account,, they said it was to pay the taxes on her winnings,,, the check cleared the bank and she was told she had to take the money out of her account and western union it to this other country to pay the taxes on her winnings. she did all this and is now afraid that maybe this is money laundering !!! can you please let me know,,, im really concerned for her,,, she is very gullible and i feel maybe she just got scammed or worse if this is money laundering she could be in trouble or could she???

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