Thursday, September 24, 2009

'Money Mule' Recruitment Network Exposed

Brian Krebs writes on Security Fix:

In a blog post earlier this week, Security Fix examined the crucial role of "money mules" -- people in the United States who are willingly or unwittingly recruited to help cyber fraudsters steal money from businesses. In this column, we'll peer a bit deeper into how mules are recruited, and how they often communicate with their employers.

Security Fix interviewed one of the mules hired to receive money from Sanford School District, a small school system in Colorado that was robbed of $117,000 last month when hackers used the district's online banking credentials to send sub-$10,000 payments to this mule and 16 others.

The mule I spoke with said she was hired by a company called the Scope Group Inc., which claimed to be a nearly 20-year-old investment firm operating out of New York. The Scope Group did not return e-mails seeking comment, but there is no listing for a current company by that name in the New York State business register. Also, the company's Web site is hosted in China, and its domain name -- ends with a Chinese country code. In addition, that domain name was registered on June 25, 2009, just a few weeks before the fraud against Sanford School District was perpetrated.

The Sanford mule -- who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals by the hacked company and perhaps by the hackers themselves -- said the Scope Group approached her via e-mail, saying it had found her resume on, and would she be interested in a work-at-home job acting as a "financial manager"? Having worked as a payroll manager in a previous job, the mule said she thought it was a perfect fit. Besides, she said, she'd been out of work since March.

More here.


At Fri Sep 25, 11:14:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we need to discard credit scores in favor of a "stupid" score with regard to financial matters.

If you're discovered to be involved in scams like this, no matter how unwittingly, your score gets increased. If you report scams like this, your score gets reduced.

The screenshots from the article would be laughable, if they weren't so pathetic. You'd have to be borderline moronic to fall for such obvious shenanigans. The name "Western Union" alone is a huge red flag. The fact she lost her job as a payroll manager would not be surprising if in fact I could force myself to believe someone so dumb could have ever been employed in such a position in the first place.

Bottom line - endless varieties of scams such as this will continue to succeed as long as there are fools with access to computers.


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