Unemployed encouraged to launder money via text message

It is the latest case of IT fraud and targets unemployed people seeking work through the government portal “netempregos.gov.pt”.

Judicial police blame eastern European mafias, and claim the scheme is all designed to launder money. For now, the PJ is investigating and anyone receiving text messages offering work from a company with the email “[email protected]” is advised not to respond.

The scam – almost certainly designed to facilitate money-laundering schemes – could see anyone involved, even as an unwitting conduit, liable for prosecution, police warn.

In this case, the PJ believe people are being asked to allow their bank accounts to be used to receive money from overseas, for which they are then offered commissions.

Meantime, the issue centres on how unemployed people’s personal data has been accessed. That is what is most worrying those who have signed on to the government portal, run by IEFP – the institute of professional training and education.

Curiously, it was not the IEFP who alerted police to the problem. It was another company, Net-Empregos, whose name is similar to that of the IEFP portal, and whose brief is just the same: to find people work.

Net-Empregos also sounded the alert via Facebook, saying: “After analysing all the complaints and denouncements received, we discovered that on the State’s site (netemprego.gov.pt) it is possible to see all the personal data of people inscribed at employment centres”.

According to Net-Empregos, the personal information includes every client’s full name, address, telephone number, email contact, professional qualifications and experience.

Público instantly got on the case, and heard from IEFP that clients are at liberty to remove their personal information from the site whenever they want to. There are options, IEFP explained.

But as Net-Empregos stresses, the number of people complaining continues to increase, so the bogus job offers are still out there.

The company told Público that “it is not rare for criminal groups to use false job announcements, for example, to lure people into so-called phishing schemes, which help money – stolen from bank accounts, through IT fraud – leave the country. Anyone who replies to these offers will receive a contact telling them that as part of their new job they will be receiving a transfer of money and that the funds will then need to be sent elsewhere.”

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