Money mule recruiters get more brazen

Money mule recruiters get more brazen

Summary: The criminal gangs behind the phishing scourge are getting more and more brazen in their attempts to lure 'money mules' to launder money from stolen bank accounts.


The criminal gangs behind the phishing scourge are getting more and more brazen in their attempts to lure 'money mules' to launder money from stolen bank accounts.

Typically, money mule recruiters try to stay undercover, listing on Craigslist and major job sites for stay-at-home positions titled "shipping manager," "private financial receiver" or "sales representative." These listings, as I wrote in this 2006 eWEEK story, are attempts to entice people mostly in the in the U.S., U.K. and Australia to to transfer illegal funds from credit card thieves.

Now, as this Web forum shows, the recruitment is out in the open, brazenly admitting to money laundering with offers of 10% for every international transfer made.

This screen shot taken this morning (the site remains live at 10:42 AM today) explains it all: Money mules recruiters get more brazen

The forum, which lists 166 members and thousands of messages, provides a detailed how-to guide for mules around the world.

[ SEE: Storm Worm botnet could be world’s most powerful supercomputer ]

According to Symantec security researcher Nicolas Falliere, this specific forum is linked to the powerful 'Storm Worm' botnet controlled by phishers and spammers in Russia.

Falliere notes the surreal nature of this discussion happening in the open with people on the bulletin board asking questions about the highest amount one can receive at once, and how long she/he would have to wait to get the funds transferred.

Topics: Malware, Banking, Security, Symantec, IT Employment

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  • Like Mr. T used to say....

    "Pity the po' fools..." Greedy suckahs.
  • "It's a good and legal way of making money."

    Anton Philidor
    • That line

      That line did give me a chuckle.

      Interestingly, last year when I was looking closely at the Money Mules issue, I found out that drug addicts and other struggling folks were high on the list of those who became mules.

      Ryan Naraine
      • Yes, people who need money...

        ... immediately are likely to be the most vulnerable. However, there are a large number of people without bank accounts by decision of the banks, and having a regular, private internet connection does imply some stability.
        It's probably not the poorest or those otherwise without resources who are the main "market" for this scam.

        What's the usual criminal charge when mules are apprehended?
        Anton Philidor
        • Shouldn't Even Be Asking the Question

          I'd guess that mules could be prosecuted under both the laws where they reside and the laws from where the funds originated. If the clause mentioned in the article below hasn't been sunsetted, you could basically lose everything you own if you live in the U.S. There's probably potential jail time involved too. Mess with currency, and you're messing the with Feds.

        • 10 to 20 years is the usual prison term

          but multiple transfers and RICO will make sentences run consecutively and be an effective life-without-parole sentence. Some "lucky" mules get to cooperate with the Feds in return for a lighter sentence, but that's like playing Russian roulette with 5 bullets loaded (pardon the expression).

          The other thing is that Feds are often content to let money laundering operations run for years, collecting evidence on people up and down the food chain. There are probably people out there who do it once, wait for a little while, and say to themselves "The police don't have a clue, I'm invisible to them." You are not. They have all the time in the world. Money launderers are generally not violent people, so the police aren't compelled to act swiftly to avoid life-threatening situations. They can take their time, and reel in the true bad guys.

          I feel a little sorry for the poor fools who get into these schemes, but I feel sorrier for the general lack of integrity in Americans today. So many people buying into the gansta and get-rich-quick mentality has weakened our civilization.
          terry flores
  • They need to get into Canadian Politics...

    ...a much, much better avenue to steal within. Like the ADSCAM Scandal, cash in brown paper bags, fed to Queebec cronies, hey! They even get FAT PENSIONS after screwing the sheepple serfs up here. Don't just be a SIMPLE THIEF...BECOME A QANNADDIAN POLITICIAN.
    Feldwebel Wolfenstool
  • RE: Money mule recruiters get more brazen

    We have the FBI the CIA and who knows what other cyber law enforcement groups. Are they all trying to prevent the citizens of the US from discovering what BUSH and his cronies are up to or should SOME of them be assigned to this problem?

    In reality there are thousands of people and millions of dollars in the scam, from all around the world.

    Some one needs to put together ea REAL task force to go out and put the bad boys away. There needs to be a very strong international message that fraud is not a normal business practice.

    If there is a big bot net, or even several big bot nets the government needs to put into place an organization that can:
    1) Take control of the botnet. If there is code allowing the operators to control each PC then that process can be intercepted and controlled.
    2) Disinfect the bot net. Same way you seize control, you use that control to have the botnet uninstall the malicious software.
    3) Using 'man in the middle' you trace the controllers of the nets. You work with the host country to arrest the people behind them. Best to dramatically drop out of the sky from black helicopters and make a big show of taking down the perps.
    4) You track the money. Yes it is difficult for individuals to do, but it is not impossible and quite within the abilities of this, and other governments if they worked together.
  • If it looks too good

    Why would anybody think that the authorities have not seen this. Either the poster of the message is a total fool or this message may be posted by FBI or other organization to map the connections. The FBI is notorious for planting undercover agents in the criminal organizations. I would hate to get caught involved in this. With the so called "Patriot Act" in affect here in the US, they better hope that the money laundering is not going to a terrorist organization. If so, Poof! you disappear without even a phone call or an indictment until the gov. decides to let you go. An organization this foolish either will get busted quicxly or its a trap.