Coffins in the mail are a trick of the cybercrime trade

The unemployed are increasingly believing work-at-home schemes, which are a ruse for cybercrime

There's never been a better time to get involved in cybercrime.

That's the tongue-in-cheek assessment of Uri Rivner, RSA's head of new technologies for identity protection and verification, who gave a presentation at the RSA security conference in London on Wednesday.

But there is truth in his quip -- the poor economy is driving people to find other work and it has become much easier for cybercriminals to recruit people, known as "mules," to carry out crucial duties for scams.

Seduced by promises of extremely high weekly pay while working only a few hours, people agree to do tasks such as reship goods or allow their bank accounts to receive funds for transfers elsewhere.

The problem is, the goods are stolen, and their addresses are being used as drops, allowing the cybercriminals the luxury of not receiving the stolen goods directly that have been bought with stolen credit card data.

Mules are also duped into allowing money to be transferred into their own bank accounts and then ordered to transfer the money elsewhere, a type of money laundering.

Many times, they have no idea they've become involved in a highly efficient criminal enterprise. Often, the mules get short shrift, Rivner said.

"They don't get paid," he said.

The cybercriminals will use a mule for a month or so and then recruit more mules. A study done by RSA of one bogus shipping service working for cybergangs found that thousands of Americans had signed up to reship packages from their homes via FedEx.

At the time, the cybercriminals just recruited 33 people, knowing there were plenty more when those mules had been used, Rivner said.

"A bad economy makes people more responsive," he said.

So what happens if a mule, for example, decided to just keep $US10,000 the cybercriminals sent to the mule's account for laundering?

Rivner said they've heard of cybercriminals sending a coffin -- purchased with stolen credit card data -- with the mule's name imprinted on it.

"You can scare the mules into sending the money," Rivner said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cybercrimeeconomic downturn

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?