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Spammers Attacking Online Job Applicants to Steal Identity

The US FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), on May 12, 2008, warned investors to watch out for a new Internet-based scam involving online classified ads for jobs that fraudsters have been posting and using to steal user identities and commit financial fraud. These fraudsters, according to FINRA, appear to be also using malicious adware to redirect potential candidates to their dubious sites.

In the warning, FINRA depicted the latest modification to the story of identity theft. Stock traders, pretending as personnel of a so-called Latvian brokerage company, seem to have seized private information from people who believed they were posting job applications through the well-known classifieds Website, Craiglist (www.craiglist.org).

FINRA has suggested to investors that they should remain vigilant against tactics of identity theft when performing any online activity. It said that investors must verify the legitimacy of every business or person who asks for personal information like the Social Security number prior to handing out such confidential and sensitive information.

In a complaint by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), it was evident that these traders supposedly made use of the date of birth, Social Security number and other related information of the persons applying for the jobs to create online stock accounts. The fraud traders told the applicants that the company would require such information to carry out 'background checks', as it would be depositing its money with those applicants. The traders are clever in communicating with their unsuspecting applicants, as they communicate only via fax or e-mail.

After recruiting several persons, the company supposedly sent money to those persons' bank accounts using Western Union money order and through wire transfers emanating from certain Russian bank accounts. Subsequently, the hired individuals were asked to transfer that money from their personal bank accounts to their corresponding brokerage accounts that were opened without the individuals' knowledge.

Furthermore, the traders supposedly used stolen usernames and passwords to illegally access the existing stock accounts of their victims. Based on such access of the existing and new brokerage accounts, the fraudulent traders applied sophisticated ruses to manipulate the prices and trade several thinly demanded stocks for large profits.

Related article: Spammers Continue their Campaigns Successfully

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