Feeds

Free ads site could help fraudsters recruit middlemen

Saddling up money mules

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Popular UK-based free ads website Adzooks is inadvertently helping fraudsters by failing to properly screen job offers for obvious cons, anti-fraud activists have warned.

Ads which offer easy money working from home are often actually attempts to recruiting phishing mules, says Early Warning.

Typically, the fraudsters behind the "phishing" scams are located outside the UK. Since they are unable to transfer money directly from a victims' online account overseas, UK intermediaries - or "mules" - are hired to transfer money into other UK bank accounts before sending it overseas. Historically, these middlemen have been recruited via email, but a lack of screening by Adzooks creates a more plausible route to fraud.

Using trusted names like Costa Coffee - which has nothing to do with the scams - fraudsters are enticing the unwary into illegal money-laundering without the victims' knowledge.

"These criminals are making money mules out of innocent people by advertising on an apparently responsible website. They get individuals to use their bank accounts and other personal details to process payments for a percentage of what they don't realise are the proceeds of crime," warned Andrew Goodwill, managing director of Early Warning. "Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law, so these people themselves become criminals".

Early Warning placed a spoof advert on Adzooks last Saturday - headed Work From Home by becoming a money mule - in order to determine whether the site was properly monitored for obvious scams.

Despite stating on its site that working from home ads will be removed, Adzooks has consistently failed to stop them. Early Warning has repeatedly advised Trinity media group, which publishes Adzooks, as well as the Daily Mirror, that its vetting system is failing.

"Owners and operators of free classified ad websites - which litter the internet - have a social responsibility to make sure they protect the surfing public," Goodwill added.

Neither Adzooks nor parent company Trinity Mirror responded to our requests for comment on how it screened its ads at the time of going to press. Early Warning's obvious bogus ad remains live on the site here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.