Category Archives: Employment Fraud

Thieves Replacing Money Mules With Prepaid Cards?

April 13, 2012

Recent ebanking heists — such as a $121,000 online robbery at a New York fuel supplier last month — suggest that cyber thieves increasingly are cashing out by sending victim funds to prepaid debit card accounts. The shift appears to be an effort to route around a major bottleneck for these crimes: Their dependency on unreliable money mules.

Mules traditionally have played a key role in helping thieves cash out hacked accounts and launder money. They are recruited through email-based work-at-home job scams, and are told they will be helping companies process payments. In a typical scheme, the mule provides her banking details to the recruiter, who eventually sends a fraudulent transfer and tells the mule to withdraw the funds in cash, keep a small percentage, and wire the remainder to co-conspirators abroad.

FBI Investigating Cyber Theft of $139,000 from Pittsford, NY

June 10, 2011

Computer crooks stole at least $139,000 from the town coffers of Pittsford, New York this week. The theft is the latest reminder of the widening gap between the sophistication of organized cyber thieves and the increasingly ineffective security measures employed by many financial institutions across the United States.

The attack began on or around June 1, 2011, when someone logged into the online commercial banking account of the Town of Pittsford, a municipality of 25,000 not far from Rochester, N.Y. The thieves initiated a small batch of automated clearing house (ACH) transfers to several money mules, willing or unwitting individuals in the U.S.A. who had been recruited by the attackers prior to the theft. The mules pulled the money out of their bank accounts in cash and wired it to individuals in Saint Petersburg, Russia and Kiev, Ukraine via transfer services Western Union and Moneygram.

U.S. Charges 37 Alleged Money Mules

September 30, 2010

Troy Owen never thought he’d see the day when the cyber thieves who robbed his company of $800,000 would ever be charged with any crime. Owens said that investigators told him that the perpetrators were mostly overseas in places like Ukraine and Moldova, and that it might be tough to catch those responsible.

But on Thursday afternoon, authorities in New York announced they had charged more than 60 individuals — and arrested 20 — in connection with international cyber heists perpetrated against dozens of companies in the United States, including Owen’s.

11 Charged In ZeuS & Money Mule Ring

September 30, 2010

Authorities in the United Kingdom on Wednesday charged 11 individuals with running an international cyber crime syndicate that laundered millions of dollars stolen from consumers and businesses with the help of the help of the ultra-sophisticated ZeuS banking Trojan.

To Catch a Mule

April 26, 2010

Much digital ink has been spilled in this blog detailing the activities of so-called “money mules,” willing or unwitting individuals here in the United States who are lured into laundering money for international organized cyber crime gangs. The subject almost always generates fierce debate among readers about whether these mules should be prosecuted, and the debate usually hinges on whether the mules knew that they were contributing to a crime.

Money Mules Helped to Rob W. Va. Bank

January 13, 2010

I have written a great deal about how organized cyber gangs in Eastern Europe drained tens of millions of dollars from the bank accounts of small- to mid-sized businesses last year. But new evidence indicates one of the gangs chiefly responsible for these attacks actually managed to hack directly into a U.S. bank last year and siphon off tens of thousands of dollars.