'Mule recruitment' for credit card fraud high in Australia

Credit card fraud that uses unsuspecting "mules" to siphon off funds from compromised accounts is now a particular problem in Australia, an expert has observed.

Uri Rivner, head of consumer protection at RSA, the security division of EMC, noted that people needing extra cash like students and the unemployed are often duped into becoming "mules" by online ads offering work from home as financial agents or logistics officers for various organisations.

Speaking to the Australian, he said: "There is an underground online economy where fraudsters can buy tools, data and even specialised services."

It was noted that funds are usually siphoned from a compromised account within Australia before being transferred to another local account, operated by the mule.

The mule, retaining ten to 15 per cent as "wages", then withdraws cash from the branch or an ATM before wiring it to an overseas account controlled by the crime boss.

Aussies concerned about online scams and fraud may wish to compare credit cards in search of the best security features. In a recent interview with Smart Company, Teresa Corbin, deputy chief executive of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, noted that young people often lack the "street-smarts" required to avoid cyber crime when purchasing online.

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