This Fake Job Offer Might Land You in Jail

Author: James Greening

July 2, 2021

The internet makes it possible for anyone from any part of the world to gain employment for companies located in other countries and even other continents. As a result, a person may work for someone whom they have never met face-to-face or never even seen on a video call. If you are not careful, you could even end up working for a scammer! While we have discussed Work From Home scams before, there is a less common scam of this type that sometimes gets overlooked. 

Scammers are professional criminals and they employ a number of different tactics to distance themselves from victims’ money. They are experts at laundering money to ensure that it cannot be directly traced to them. One of these methods is to use ‘money mules’. 

What is a ‘money mule’?

A ‘money mule’ is someone who, intentionally or unintentionally, helps scammers transfer money acquired through illegal means. They get a small commission in exchange for helping the scammer but carry most of the risk. If the scam ever gets caught, law enforcement will trace the theft to the mule and charge them for being complicit in the crime. The scammers themselves will be in another country and out of reach of law enforcement officials. 

Money mules often have no idea that they are involved in something illegal. Romance Scams and Work From Home Job Scams are the most common methods of recruiting money mules. Recently, we were contacted by someone in the USA who was approached with a strange job offer. Suspecting a scam, they asked us to investigate. Here’s what we found...

Fake Job Offer for Recruiting Money Mules

A member of our team contacted the scammer pretending to be a woman named ‘Sonya’ who was interested in the job.

Mail #1

The scammer’s initial email was sent by someone calling themself ‘Sebastian’. The job recruitment process kicked off with the below mail:

From: Sebastian Wilson Subject: Prior approval (CA, Modesto)
Dear Sonya,
We are very pleased to offer you a position at our company. We have found your application and contact details on one of the job-related websites. We trust that your skills will be a valuable asset to our company. If you accept this offer you will be eligible to the following in agreement to our company's policies, see a PDF file attached.If you are interested in the position please reply us back.
Kind regards.

Sebastian claimed that they found Sonya’s application and contact details on a job portal. This is an obvious copy-pasted script because they never contacted us in the first place. Sonya is not a real person at all and therefore has no presence on social media.

Mail #2

Once we started the correspondence, we started receiving emails from ‘Natali’ who used the email ID of a different company. She claimed that this ‘cloud mining’ company was based in Hong Kong and was hiring for new offices across the globe. However, they could only hire for remote positions due to the COVID pandemic.

Their ‘Client Relations’ job pays an absurd $42,000/year for part-time work and entails discovering ‘exchange methods of fiat currency into company’s tokens’. In addition to the salary of $42,000/year, the employee was also entitled for an 8% commission ‘for each processed test payment’. None of these things seem to have any real connection with the company’s supposed business of ‘cloud mining’. 

Natali’s mail was replete with errors and the only educational qualification required is a High School diploma. Not even a single interview in any form was conducted up till this point.

While the email looks professional at first glance, reading it carefully reveals several mistakes which suggest that ‘Natali’ may not be well-versed with English, which is odd for someone claiming to work for a multinational company.

Even though most companies require employees to communicate via video call using software such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, this supposed global company wants Sonya to only communicate through WhatsApp and email.

Natali Reyes <[redacted]-hr@[redacted]> wrote:
Dear, Sonya.
I will be your hiring manager for the position of Clients Relations Assistant in [redacted] LTD.
I would like to provide you with some information on the position with more details on the company and job description.
We are international company with the head office in Hong Kong. We are opening our branches in the US and Canada now.
https://www.[redacted] is a product of [redacted] LTD.We offer the best of traditional retail colocation including limitless connectivity, dedicated support and complementary ecosystems, combined with low cost packages, scalability and custom solutions of the wholesale model, in uniquely flexible and customer friendly ways.
We are all strong believers in the future of digital currencies and we love being part of this growing community! We are looking for a responsible Clients Relations Assistant to perform a variety of administrative and routine tasks.
Ability to effectively communicate via phone and email and online messenger. An intelligent, hardworking and honest person is required. At the moment we are seeking for employees to join our community and help us expand to the US market.
We have already used this hiring model in the UK and Europe. Our workers consult company's clients and investors in London, Berlin, Manchester, Hong Kong, etc.
Below is the information for you. Please review our offer: https://[redacted][redacted].pdf
It contains the details about your salary and bonuses, benefits, terms and conditions of your anticipated employment with[redacted] LTD.
Job description:
o Position: Clients Relations Assistant
o Position link: https://www.[redacted]
o Working hours: 20 hours per week
o Compensation: $3500 - $4000 per month/ $42,000 - $48,000 annually
o Type: Part time
o Bonus: variety of bonuses for completed tasks
o Educational period: Four weeks (company pays salary during training)
o Benefits: You will be eligible for the benefits that [redacted] Limited offers.
These benefits include:
1. Private health and dental insurance plan
2. 2 weeks of paid vacation leave per year
3. Flexible work hours
4. Work from home option
5. Educational assistance
6. Employee will also be eligible for any additional employee benefits that the company may provide in the future
The Role:
We are looking for an emotionally intelligent, polished, flexible, experienced person, someone who comes from a client focused role who is adaptable, highly organized and who can handle a role with a variable workload.
Ultimately, a successful candidate should ensure the efficient and smooth day-to-day operation and always be in touch. Good self-organizer skills with the ability to foresee problems in advance and run projects from beginning to completion.
- Supervising day-to-day operations of the customer support department and staff members
- Developing, reviewing, and improving administrative systems, policies, and procedures
- Assisting with currency and cryptocurrency conversion, consulting clients and investors on the optimal investing ways
- Researching of exchange methods, creating FAQs for clients and investors
- Assisting and supporting company's clients through online messengers
- Collecting, organizing, and storing information using computers and filing systems
- Resolve routine and complex inquiries
- Aptitude to quickly learn organizational structure and the objectives of the team
- Generate reports and conduct research
- Maintain polite and professional communication via messenger and e-mail
- Administrative tasks as needed
- Self-starter
- Strong organization skills
- Detail oriented
- Competent with MS Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel)
- Competent in using online messengers 
Education and experience:
- High school diploma
- Good learner
- Highly motivated, organized individual who is able to work effectively with minimal supervision
- Comfortable presenting to large groups
- Problem Solving skills
Required software:
MS Office, Acrobat Reader, Smart-phone, Web browser, E-mail software, WhatsApp Messenger
Company provides necessary training and instructions free of charge. The company pays regular salary and bonuses during training period.
If this is something that interests you, please get back to me.Looking forward to hearing back from you.
Sincerely Yours,
Natali Reyes,[redacted] LTD. https://[redacted] [redacted]-hr@[redacted]

Mail #3

There was no way Sonya could refuse such a lucrative offer! We immediately agreed and to our surprise, Sonya was instantly sent a formal contract to sign. After signing the contract, Natali sent a list of ‘key tasks and goals’ which focused almost entirely on converting fiat currency to cryptocurrency.

Take a close look at the parts marked in bold. Note how the company wants Sonya to ‘start immediately’ without so much as checking educational qualifications, doing a background check or conducting any interviews.

Natali Reyes <[redacted]-hr@[redacted]>
Subject: Prior approval (CA, Modesto)
Dear, Sonya.
Thank you for your reply.
You are receiving work from home position with the option to work at the company's office in the near future. We also plan to open several more branches in the US and have a close look on your area.
Our company is operating for more than a year but could not fully expand to the US and Canadian market due to Covid-19 worlds situation. Now we want to put all of our efforts to expand to the US market and we need you to be a part of our team.
Below is the list of some key tasks and goals.
[redacted] Limited is a cloud mining service so we want to invest in hardware, software, online messengers and education of existing and new clients.
1. First and most important task is education work in order to consult and advice company's clients on crypto currency exchanges with their investments. As Clients Relations Assistant you will receive training from company's mentors in order to become an expert in conversion of fiat (USD) into various crypto currencies. Why do we need this? Our new investors and followers sometimes have no knowledge on crypto currency and investing in it. They have real funds but it is very difficult to choose the exchange method that is fast, secure and with low fees. The lack of knowledge leads to losses and delays. Even to the refusal of the client to working with company because of the complicated procedure. Expanding to the US market gives us a strong demand to prepare Specialists so that they can consult our clients on a daily basis and advice on possible and best exchange and conversion methods.
There are a lot of ways to exchange funds into crypto currency. It is online exchanges, bitcoin atm network, online applications and you will learn and test all of them so you know how it works and be an exceptional consultant for the new and existing customers of [redacted].
You will have a skilled trainer, the company will pay you for the training month your regular salary and bonuses. The company will send you funds to do buy, sell, exchange and research exchanges, bitcoin atms and online Apps like CashApp bitcoin purchase.
2. We would like you to research US based exchanges and bitcoin atm network that make crypto currency operations as well as global exchanges that work on the territory of the US. We have a web site and after the research work we will integrate some exchanges and methods in order to make investment in our company faster, cheaper and more secure. Your role will be the research and testing work on those exchanges under supervision of [redacted] LTD. There are a lot of interesting systems like CashApp, Venmo,,,,, bitcoin atm network etc.
We need to discover them and compare operations so that company's clients can use them easily and have proper support from you.
3. After your training you will have access to company's US clients' list. You will use a program to find those who are in need of investing or withdrawing funds from the company and you will be helping them. You will be working on such tasks as hardware local market research, new exchange methods research, creation guidelines for clients.
It will be a new, interesting and exciting job and we will do everything so you can become a member of our community from the first day.
Do not be afraid of a new sphere - our staff will help you to start and understand all the tasks.
Training period will last for 1 month and you will be fully paid with base salary and bonuses during this period.
Due to covid we start as a remote position. Then it will be remote or office based on your choise.
You can start immediately, please let me know if you are ready?
If the above is fully acceptable and you are ready to become a part of a successful, friendly and ambitious company then welcome!
We will move to the application form and the contract.
Look forward to your fast reply.
Sincerely Yours,
Natali Reyes,
[redacted] LTD. https://[redacted] [redacted]-hr@[redacted]

Mail #4

Of course, Sonya agreed to start working immediately and received the below email. She was asked to report to someone named ‘Robert’ via WhatsApp and the entire mail talks about using various platforms to exchange real money for cryptocurrency.

Robert’s phone number carries the +44 country code of the UK. However, it is actually a virtual VoIP line that can be operated from anywhere in the world. What this means is that Robert is likely to not be located in the UK at all. Strangely, the company apparently uses only WhatsApp to communicate with clients too.

Natali Reyes <[redacted]-hr@[redacted]>
Subject: Re:
Dear, Sonya.
Your signed contract has been received and saved.
We would like you to add Robert Boyer (your trainer) to smartphone contacts.
His cellphone number is +44 [redacted]. It is linked to his WhatsApp account, so you have to download the app to communicate with Robert.
It is important because he will supervise and help you during your first month. You can also send us your number, and he will add you to his contact list himself.
Please inform your trainer of your availability to work from Monday to Friday. We need to schedule daily transaction tests and keep track of time they take. As soon as you are ready, we will start our 1-month training course.
We pay 100 % of salary for new employees undertaking the training period, and you will also have a chance to get bonuses for completing the tasks.
Since you are a new employee, you will be given the simplest tasks to understand our business concept, and Robert will be there for you to help and answer your questions.
[redacted] LTD aims to become one of the market leaders in cloud mining and wants to create its own messenger and cryptocurrency wallet.
You will have to create accounts on several exchange platforms, such as Zelle, Cashapp, Kraken, Bittrex, Paxful, Coinbase, ABRA etc., to test online payments and try different payment methods that our clients are going to use. That is why you will be asked to write reports, and we will analyze the results of your work.
Here is the list of work instructions design to ensure your working process is effective and consistent:
1.    You need to create accounts on the following platforms:
• and
•   CashApp, Venmo, Zelle
In the near future, you are expected to discover new apps, services and website that are used in the USA. The platforms listed above are free to use and essential for completing your tasks. Using them, you will make test transactions to be able to consult your future customers as well as to write reports. We hope that you will soon become an expert which is ready to develop new investment strategies and answer clients’ questions about Bitcoin ATMs and cryptocurrency exchanges.
2. You will be asked to create an account with Zelle is one of our potential business partners, so we plan to build in their advance payment system in [redacted] LTD to help our users make the fastest and cheapest investments.
Our aim is to help Zelle improve, which is why you will test the APS not just for us but for them, too.
Their app is free and easy to download, so it will not be a problem to you to use it, test it and write a report. At the end of your training period, you are expected to become an expert in everything about Zelle and to be able to help our clients meet their investment goals by using it.
3. Again, we have appointed Robert Boyer to be your personal mentor. He is an experienced professional who knows all about physical and digital cryptocurrency exchanges. Robert has been working in cryptocurrency industry for many years, that is why he has all the skills and knowledge needed to work with online exchanges and investors, help other employees and assist clients.
[redacted] uses WhatsApp messenger to communicate with its clients. So, during your training period you will be asked to communicate with Robert Boyer using WhatsApp. Please remember to download it on your phone and add him to your contacts.
You can also send us your phone number linked to this messenger, and Robert will add you himself.
His phone number is +44 [redacted]
I am 100 % percent sure you are going to make a new PROFESSIONAL for our US and Canadian branches, A REAL EXPERT in cryptocurrency exchanges, and A PERFECT ASSISTANT for the most important customers.
We are glad to have you on our team.
Await your reply.
Sincerely Yours,
Natali Reyes,
[redacted] LTD. https://[redacted] [redacted]-hr@[redacted]

What Happens if You Take the Job?

The scammers will ask for your bank account details, which will then be credited with money stolen from victims. It is likely that the scammers are involving Sonya to act as an additional level in their money-laundering scheme. ‘Cloud mining’ investment scammers take payments in the form of Bitcoin from victims. This Bitcoin is then converted into dollars and transferred into the money mule’s (your) account.

You will then convert the dollars back into untraceable cryptocurrency for the scammers. This is probably done so that the scammers can transfer the Bitcoin into a wallet that is not known to their victims.

While crypto transactions can be traced to digital wallets, the wallets used by scammers are often hacked or stolen. Therefore, the KYC details associated with the wallet won’t lead to the scammers either.

In this particular case, ‘Sebastian’, ‘Natali’ and ‘Robert’ are almost certainly not the real names of the people sending the mails. They never showed their faces and do not have any social media profiles; not even on LinkedIn. However, scammers are known to use fake accounts on social media platforms to maintain the illusion of being a real person.

The company has no online presence except for its website. There is no reason to believe that it is a legitimate company as there was no information given that could be used to verify whether the company really exists.

In this way, the scammers are able to completely distance themselves away from the source of the money. The transactions can only be traced as far as your account, making it look as if you are the scammer. Cryptocurrency transactions are anonymous and irreversible, making it practically impossible to track down the person at the receiving end.

When the scam gets caught, your bank account will be frozen leaving you without access to any of your own money.

Warning Signs to Watch Out For

  • The company contacted you out of the blue
  • They do not conduct any interviews or only conduct them via text messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram
  • They never appear face-to-face
  • They do not provide any verifiable company information, such as those related to registration or taxes
  • The company and its employees have no presence on social media, especially LinkedIn
  • If they do have social media profiles, it will be mostly empty except for information about the fake company you are dealing with
  • The job requires no or bare minimum educational qualifications
  • The payment offered is absurdly high

If you have already unwittingly participated in this scam, the best course of action is to not withdraw or convert any of the money and report the transactions to law enforcement authorities. Preserve all communications and financial information such as wallet IDs to present to the authorities. It is always better to get to the police before they get to you. 

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is!

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