This is something I see posted on the VA forums from time to time and it amazes me that some cannot see common sense with the jobs that are offered. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, unsure, uneasy, then there is a good reason for it.
If the job requires you to handle the client’s money to pay their bills and buy things – DON’T do it!
Never, ever take on jobs that require you to pay bills on behalf of clients or do shopping for them. Nor accept their mail for them or buy gifts on their behalf. They can do their own shopping online. NEVER offer to handle bill payments for a client you’ve only just met. I wouldn’t expect anyone to ask that of me if we haven’t known each other for a long time. It will, most likely, be a money laundering scam or something.
VAs should be doing true secretarial/admin type work, or social media support, etc. Web based and computer based work. Not personal services where it involves the handling of money. How on earth can the client be comfortable with you handling their money when they don’t even know you and haven’t even built up a relationship? I have twice managed things of this nature for clients – on both occasions I’d been working with these clients for many years and it was a natural transition in our working relationship. I had become their personal assistant in many ways. But I certainly wouldn’t do this for someone I’ve never met and do not know, nor have built a trusting working relationship with.
You need to use common sense in things like this and think if it was in the reverse, would you trust someone you don’t know with your money?
If it doesn’t ring true, or makes you uncomfortable, then there is usually a good reason for it. Don’t do it and steer well away. If a client wants you to bank a cheque, make payments for them and keep the balance, then go to the police or your bank and hand the cheque over – do not bank it, whatever you do. Give the bank or police all the details you have of that client so they can take it from there.
The last thing you want is being either out of pocket a couple of thousand dollars, or being dragged through the courts because you were part of a money laundering scam.