Bad Economy Helping Scammers Recruit 'Mules'

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Doc Bunkum
Scamologist General (MLM Division)
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Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 1:45 am

Bad Economy Helping Scammers Recruit 'Mules'

Postby Doc Bunkum » Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:10 pm

The current economic downturn has created a mini-boom for at least one class of online scammers: Criminals who trick consumers into opening new bank accounts and becoming money laundering "mules" as part of those unavoidable work-at-home scams.

The scam is unlike the infamous Nigerian fraud, which tricks you into giving up your bank account information, then promptly drains it of funds. Rather, these scams offer you the chance to "work at home" and convince you to open a new bank account in your name. That account is then used to receive anonymous payments, which you are asked to forward on to overseas recipients in exchange for a small cut of the funds as a fee. The money received is usually legitimate -- all the better to entice you to keep acting as a middleman on these payments.

The problem is that the sender and ultimate recipient of the money are engaged in various crimes, but since you're stuck in the middle, you're actually guilty of facilitating the deal. And since you're the only person in the bunch who lives on U.S. soil, you're the one that's most likely to be prosecuted when the scam unravels.

These scams are dramatically on the rise, preying on people's fears of losing their job or running out of money.

McAfee's annual "Virtual Criminology Report", set to be released Tuesday by the Internet security company, says 873 money-mule recruitment Web pages were detected in Britain in the first half of 2008, a 33 percent increase over the first half of 2007.

Panda Security, a Spanish software vendor, found that job-related messages hit a new record of 0.31 percent of all spam in October, nearly triple the proportion from August. And the success rate in recruiting money mules rose to 1.8 percent in October, from 0.5 percent in August.

Recession a boom for online scams

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