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June 05, 2009

Work From Home! Go to Jail!

An unsolicited email message finds its way into your inbox offering the prospect of an easy job "processing payments" for an international company that needs an agent in "your area" (wherever you live). I've even seen some offers abusing brand names such as Federal Express in the mix. All you need is a computer (Duh, you have email!) and a bank account.

If you bite for this trick, you'll soon be setup as a money mule, laundering funds lifted from stolen bank and investment accounts. The accounts were hijacked through your employer's surreptitious installation of Trojan software that grabs login keystrokes (usernames and passwords) to financial institutions. Of course, that happens in an entirely other "department," so you're not aware of that part of the business.

The "job" actually pays well in that you keep a sizable share of the funds deposited in your account, while you wire the rest to your "boss" in another country. Little work. Big rewards.

Oh, did I mention the risk? Ah, you see this "job" is totally illegal in the United States. Just having the stolen money deposited into your account is a crime. Passing it onward only adds to the offenses.

According to The Register, New Hampshire resident Alexey Mineev got caught up in one of these schemes and pleaded guilty to money laundering. He's having to cough up nearly $112,000 that the Feds observed him skimming over 16 months, and he may also spend time at the Graybar Hotel.

And you thought your job sucked!

Posted on June 05, 2009 at 04:11 PM