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Assorted banknotes So, you read about it a lot. Security breaches that ‘may’ have compromised the credit-card or other payment information of a lot of people.

Notice how people never say that payment information has been compromised. Only that it may have been.

So, what good does the information do for the villain? How do they get the money from the people whose information was compromised? Well, that’s where you come in.

The odds are you’ve seen an email like this one:

Hello, we have a job offers avalible for people fromAustralia and new Zealand only.
We have funds coming from our clients that needs to be received in Australia and New Zealand.
This is in view of our not having a branch office presently in Australia and new Zealand.
We are currently facing some difficulties with receiving payments for our services.
It usually takes us 15-25 days to receive a payment and clearing from your country and such delays are harmful to our business,
thats why we need Payment Officers in Australia and New Zealand.
You will have a free time doing your permanent job, you will also secure a good income during the process.
You will be entitled to 4% of whatever amount you received from customers on behalf of the company plus basic salary of 2500$ a month.
If you are interested in this job offer, please send the your free form application to: (some email address)
I’ll answer you as soon as possible.

You might see many of these. Many per day, even. This email originated from a server in Russia, and tried to look like it came from a server in this part of the world, instead.

What’s going on here? They’re trying to recruit you as a “mule” to help them steal money from people whose payment information they have obtained, and launder it. If you accept the offer, and start doing this, you’ll be arrested, charged and almost certainly go to jail. The conviction rate for the poor saps who accept these offers is very high, and the odds are that you’ll be arrested within 2-3 weeks of starting.

What you’re being asked to do is to ‘process payments from customers’. That is, they’ll generate transactions, charging unlawfully obtained credit card information (they don’t tell you this part, but you’d be a fool not to guess it). That payment goes to you. You keep 4%, and transfer the rest to an account you’re given.

As these transactions start to mount up, and card-holders begin to notice charges that shouldn’t be there, and try to reverse them, the credit-card company contacts the police. The police find you from your bank account information, and things go badly for you within a day or two after the card-company has picked up the phone and passed on the details.

The money, meantime, has moved on through other people and different accounts overseas. The people running the whole scam fold up their phone numbers and domain names and email addresses and get new ones. Once or twice every month they abandon their old identities and start the scam over with new identities, ripping off huge sums from card-holders and card-companies.

And you helped them, you poor sod, because you let the idea of easy money override all the things your common-sense should have been telling you.

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Categories: Law, Security.

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