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Cybercriminals target UK job seekers, warns GetSafeOnline

Job hunters should be wary of money-earning opportunities offered on the internet as they are likely to be linked to cybercrime, says UK internet safety group.

Cybercriminals are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to recruit people to become unwitting "money mules" to receive and forward stolen funds, according to GetSafeOnline.

These methods include making use of legitimate channels, including mainstream recruitment websites, to mislead people into thinking they are applying for genuine jobs such as shipping managers, financial managers or money transfer agents.

Some cybercriminals even issue official-looking employment contracts, said GetSafeOnline.

"The consequence is that they end up liable for all the criminal funds they have received," said Sharon Lemon, deputy director of e-crime at the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and chair of the GetSafeOnline steering committee.

At any given time there are approximately 100 mule recruitment sites targeting the UK, said Tony Neate, managing director of GetSafeOnline.

While 39% of UK users search for jobs online, 90% have never heard of the term "money mule", according to research by GetSafeOnline.

Some 14% of UK internet users have been approached online with a job offer they have not applied for, the research revealed.

"With many people looking for ways to earn money during the recession, it is critical that people learn to spot the warning signs to avoid becoming a victim," said Neate.

Mule recruitment scams are among the key threats to be highlighted at the annual GetSafeOnline Summit to mark the start of the fifth annual GetSafeOnline Awareness week, 16-20 November.


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