Bad Economy Helps Web Crooks Recruit 'Mules'
An AP newswire article by Jordan Robertson, via MSNBC.com, reports that:
The worsening economy appears to be helping computer crooks with one of their toughest tasks: tricking people into opening their homes and bank accounts and becoming "mules" for laundering money or stolen goods.More here.
The scams themselves aren't new. They're pitched in spam e-mails as "work-at-home" jobs that promise excellent part-time money for helping companies pay clients in other countries. The victims are asked to open new bank accounts in their names, agree to accept anonymous payments into those accounts, and forward those payments by way of money transfer, usually to locations in Eastern Europe.
The scam is classic money laundering with an Internet twist. The money is generally real, and the middle man is promised a cut. What those middle men may not know is they're trafficking in ill-gotten gains and helping criminals pay each other while disguising the source. And the mules are often the ones at the greatest risk of arrest.