We would like to warn our members about scam emails. In this particular instance, the victim receives an email claiming to be from an overseas client whose (supposed) daughter was coming to the UK for counselling sessions. Please take a few minutes to read this counsellor's personal experience.
My husband Richard ACC accredited counsellor, was recently contacted by email, from an overseas client whose (supposed) daughter was coming to the UK and wanted 6 sessions of counselling. He then emailed to say that a cheque had been issued by a friend who had over paid the amount which the counsellor had stated were his fees, so could we please send on the extra money to his daughter which was meant to cover some of her school fees. When my husband told me this my alarm bells rang out and I said, no way can we under any circumstances use our banking to potentially launder their money. Fortunately the cheque which he said was in the post, never arrived and neither did the daughter.
However as the counsellor shared this in his supervision group, 2 other members of the group had experienced a similar situation, all recently, this summer, and one had even received a cheque for the counselling sessions in the post. However instead of paying for the £200 worth of counselling sessions, the cheque was made out for £2000. He tried going to the police and the bank but neither could shed any light. But his bank has offered to return the cheque to the overseas bank asking if the cheque is fraudulent.
Our understanding of this is that possibly It could be money laundering or it could just be a scam i.e. the original cheque never arrives, but the counsellor makes the refund and so the con is just to gain money rather than launder money. We will be advising our members that should they be approached they should go to the police - they should not contact the individuals and tell them they are doing this as this would be treated as “tipping off” and is a criminal offence under the Financial Crime Act.