Woman used as money mule

Gabrielle Knowles Chief Crime Reporter
Unwitting victim: The woman alert police after warnings from her bank. Picture: Supplied

A Perth woman has been used as an unwitting "money mule" by West African fraudsters in a suspected romance scam, police claim.

The 54-year-old woman called police fraud squad detectives after her bank alerted her to their suspicions that thousands of dollars deposited into her account was stolen money.

She told police she had given her account details to a man she met through an online dating site.

The man allegedly told her he was having trouble with his bank account and needed an account his wages could be paid into while he sorted out the problem.

The woman was then asked to transfer the "wages" into two other accounts.

Inquiries have revealed the fraudster used the woman's bank details on two false invoices worth almost $90,000 that were submitted to companies in New Zealand and the Eastern States.

Authorities stopped the money transfers which they suspect were being directed to criminals in West Africa. The woman is not facing charges because she called in police as soon as her bank warned her about the suspicious nature of the funds.

Major fraud squad Det-Sen. Sgt Steve Potter urged people to check their bank statements regularly to ensure money was not transferred through their accounts without their knowledge.

It comes just weeks after detectives charged a suspected romance fraud victim over allegations he helped Nigerian criminals rip off others by allowing them to deposit stolen funds into his bank account, which he then forwarded to them.

Police do not believe the 57-year-old man got commission but will allege he knew the funds he transferred through his account were obtained fraudulently.

More than $119,000 was allegedly moved through the Beaconsfield man's accounts to the fraudsters after two separate scams in Victoria and WA.

The man has told police he was in a relationship with a British-based woman he met online and believed her associates were using the money to help her visit him in Australia.

The man has been charged with two counts of dealing in proceeds of crime and one count of opening an account with a cash dealer in a false name.