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Banks' Anti-Mule Ops Behind Drop In Cash Out Fraud?

chicksdaddy (814965) writes | about a year ago


chicksdaddy (814965) writes "Mules are the “last mile” in many online fraud operations: the unwitting dupes, or witting co-conspirators who lend their legitimate bank account (and reputation) to fraudsters who are looking for a way to cash out funds from a compromised account. Mules – lured with promises of “work-from-home” riches-- receive fraudulent transactions and then immediately withdraw the funds and wire them to the fraudsters, minus a healthy “commission.”

(It's worth noting that Brian Krebs has done the most thorough reporting on the subject, including interviews with more than 150 money mules. Krebs concludes that most fall into one of two categories: the stupid and the willfully oblivious.

In recent years, there has been ample coverage in the media of cyber crime and fraud and the role of money mules in scams. And yet, the supply of mules seems to be endless. Or is it? According to researchers at the security firm RSA, bank account cash-out attacks are becoming less common online, and a sharp increase in busts on money mules may be the cause.

Writing on Tuesday, Idan Aharoni, RSA’s Head of Cyber Intelligence, said that his team has seen a sharp (90%) reduction in offers for fraudulent “cash out services” in criminal forums. (

The problem isn’t a lack of money mules. Rather ”mule accounts have become much more volatile” because banks are doing a much better job identifying and shutting down mule accounts. That, in turn, has forced mule “herders,” who recruit the accomplices who will carry out fraudulent transfers, to become more picky about who they work with, in an attempt to avoid burning a good money mule in a scheme that is likely to get broken up, Security Ledger reports."

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