Most bank scams involve taking money out of a person's bank account, but some conmen have found a way to profit from a trick that involves the exact opposite — giving money to their victims.
A young Adelaide woman has told ninemsn how she inadvertently became the target of such a scheme after handing her bank details over to a person she believed was her new employer.
Jessica Skipper, 19, had accepted a customer service job with Canberra-based "transaction management" company Solutions Pay Pty Ltd in December, after being contacted via email by a man who identified himself as its HR manager.
The man said he had found her listed on a national employers' database and the role he was offering would require her to help clients with monetary transactions.
He guaranteed a minimum weekly salary of $1200 for full-time work but said Ms Skipper must first undertake 15 days of training, which she would be paid $1500 for.
"There is no interview or meeting required to start the training, because this training is completely remote and we never interview our trainees," he wrote.
Ms Skipper said she felt suspicious about the amount of money on offer, but at the time was "desperate" for a job.
After sending her financial details, including her tax file number, she was urged to get in touch with her "training supervisor" on Skype.
The training supervisor said the company would deposit $890 into her account, which she would then be required to transfer to a Western Union account.
But the scam didn’t get that far - the next day Ms Skipper tried to access her bank account and found that it had been frozen due to a suspicious transaction from overseas.
"I called the bank and they put me through to the fraud and securities department and said they thought someone had tried to deposit stolen money into my account," she said.
"I don't know what would've happened if they didn't catch it and the money went into my account. What kind of punishment/charges would I get?"
The people behind this scheme had been planning to use Ms Skipper to help them with money laundering. By taking the deposited money out of her account and placing it in another, she could even have inadvertently become part of the crime.
The company's website domain name Solutionspay.com was registered last November - this web address no longer works and the HR manager could not be reached on the phone number listed on his emails.
A spokeswoman for the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) said banks regularly saw scams of this nature. .
In 2011, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission received more than 2500 reports for job and employment scams.
"Unfortunately, fraudsters are always looking for new ways to scam unsuspecting customers by obtaining details of their banking accounts," the CBA spokeswoman said.
She could not provide details on how the CBA detected the scam against Ms Skipper for security reasons but said it had a range of detection programs in place to identify suspect transactions.
An Australian Federal Police spokesman said people caught up in money transfer scams were usually approached online via email or instant message, but criminals may also advertise on legitimate employment websites and in newspapers.
"Always be wary about unsolicited job offers or opportunities, which promise you can work from home and make easy money," he said.
"Legitimate companies will never pay you just to transfer money or goods."
A conviction for money laundering could attract a jail sentence of up to 25 years and/or a $165,000 fine, he said.