In two recent separate court cases, two financial agents have been sentenced to pay compensation to the affected bank in Austria. Even though both financial agents pleaded ignorance, this did not release them from their responsibility. So what are financial agents, and how can I protect myself against getting involved?
Financial agents are often recruited via e-mails offering lucrative jobs. It simply involves transferring an amount of money to your bank account, which you are then asked to send on abroad (after taking your commission) via a money transfer agent (usually Western Union). If you participate in such business, you risk criminal proceedings due to aiding and abetting money laundering (art. 305 ff StGB), even in Switzerland.
How can I protect myself against this:
- You should always view any offers containing the promise of great financial gains with a large dose of suspicion, and should always query them.
- Any job offers involving money transfers (e.g. using Western Union) should be checked for their legality. Usually, money laundering is behind such schemes.
- You should never put your personal bank account at the disposal of third parties.
- In case of doubt, please advise the authorities (police), or contact KOBIK (the Office of Coordination to Fight Internet Crime ).