A new job scam is doing the rounds, preying on people that want to make 5,000 dollars a month doing work from home. It sounds like a great deal, but this scam is run by criminals that will try to use their victims for money laundering. If you get an email claiming you can make this much money to make ends meet since you or a family member was laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic, use your delete key. In general, be very careful with any Internet “work from home” schemes, many of these are fraudulent. Do not give out any personal information to these criminals and warn your family members and friends.
Why do we fall for this kind of stuff? Because we are desperate. A wave of now tens of millions of people are suddenly unemployed and searching for ways to support their families and pay their rent.
Hackers prey on the vulnerable, exploiting the skyrocketing number of pandemic layoffs to recruit new money mules which can later be used to help them launder money gained from illegal activities.
According to Knowbe4, phishing messages discovered by PhishLabs researchers are trying to convince targets from Canada and the United States who might have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 outbreak to start working from home, promising them 5,000 dollars per month.
Seems too good to be true, right?
Victims are asked to request more info via email but given very little detail in the actual email.
Another scam impersonates Wells Fargo Human Resource (HR) representatives who are “supposedly” recruiting remote workers from across the United States to take up personal assistant positions that require running errands and doing personal chores.
“Our great company is now short of staff because of the current pandemic outbreak in the works which is very sad,” the fraudsters say. “This is a part time job if you interested let us know by your response to this message.” If the unemployed victim takes up the con’s job offer they will asked to run common errands the PhishLabs report explains.
But, “[a]t some point, after the cybercriminal has ideally established trust and credibility, the victim will be given the task of moving funds that, unbeknownst to them, are stolen.”
These bad actors target unemployed individuals who have lost their jobs during the pandemic and are setting up the unfortunate money mules to experience serious legal consequences that could lead to prison time and fines of hundreds of thousands of US dollars.
“Money mules may be witting or unwitting accomplices who receive ill-gotten funds from the victims and then transfer the funds as directed by the fraudsters,” according to a US Department of Justice press release.
“The fraudsters enlist and manipulate the money mules through romance scams or ‘work-at-home’ scams, though some money mules are knowing co-conspirators who launder the ill-gotten gains for profit,” by draining the funds into other accounts that are difficult to trace.
According to the FBI, accidental money mules are still criminals.
“Acting as a money mule—allowing others to use your bank account, or conducting financial transactions on behalf of others—not only jeopardizes your financial security and compromises your personally identifiable information, but is also a crime,” the FBI informed.
“Protect yourself by refusing to send or receive money on behalf of individuals and businesses for which you are not personally and professionally responsible.”
Please share this message to friends and colleagues currently out of work or furloughed, and if you need assistance with cybersecurity services and employee awareness training please contact DarkHound at [email protected].
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