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G DATA: Dream job money launderer, eCrime recruiting is in full swing

January 2009 by

The predictions for the 2009 labour market are dire. In the wake of the financial crises, many people are worried about losing their jobs, affected by reduced working hours or have already lost their jobs at the end of the year. Since the start of the year, online criminals have been trying to capitalise on this insecurity by sending out more job offers via e-mail.

Many of these mails are recruiting spam from criminal organisations that are merely looking for mules for financial transactions. They are offering jobs working from home as bookkeepers or financial agents. Anyone accepting the offer thus joins the eCrime community as a money launderer. The victims usually realise this only once the prosecutor comes knocking on the door.

G DATA Security Labs have noticed that recruiting spam from criminal organisations has skyrocketed since last week. G DATA security expert Ralf Benzmüller provides an insight into the criminals’ tactics and explains what potential home workers could get involved in.

“In times of an omnipresent financial crisis, the temptation could hardly be greater: Quick and easy money. With offers like that, the cyber mafia is currently staging a massive attempt to recruit e-mail recipients as supposed financial agents. Anyone taking the bait inadvertently becomes a money launderer and therefore an accomplice – with all the unpleasant consequences such as claims for damages and criminal persecution” explains Ralf Benzmüller, manager of G DATA Security Labs.

Current recruiting spam

Felony included: dream job money launderer Hired as a "Financial Agent" or "Transaction Manager“, the activity of the recruited e-mail recipients consists of accepting money transfers to their personal bank accounts. The victims then use cash transfer services such as Western Union to send money to a supposed business address, often in Eastern Europe.

The “employee” gets to keep a certain portion of the transfer amount, usually between 3 and 5 percent, as commission for his or her services. Treacherous: The incoming transfers originate from online auction fraud or illegally executed online transactions from successful phishing attacks. The criminals therefore use the hired "agents” as nothing but money launderers.

Once the money is on its way abroad via cash transfer, the previously fleeced victims hardly stand a chance to get back their money. Instead of further requests, the inadvertent money launderers then receive claims for damages or letters from the prosecution. The G DATA Security Labs experts warn expressly against responding to job offers of this type and recommend that recipients delete the corresponding bait mails without reading them.

Examples of subject lines:
Make money in no time at all
Make money fast
Quick and easy cash

It takes hardly any time at all to make a wad of cash Make dosh in no time

Examples of the content of the mail:
Get a job!!!
Make at least five hundred a week!
Get a lot of money!
Job up for grabs!
Great money to be made!

The individual mails contain contact e-mail addresses from the free mail provider gmail.

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