FTC Targets
Americans responding to "work at home" ads helped scammers pull over $10 million dollars from credit card accounts, according to investigators. The Federal Trade Commission revealed details of a four-year investigation into "money mules" that set up U.S.-based front companies for overseas con artists. Once these seemingly legitimate businesses were established in the names of unsuspecting accomplices, scammers used them to process credit card transactions as to millions of stolen account numbers.

Gartner analyst Avivah Litan told IDG News Service that most credit card companies' fraud detection algorithms overlook transactions under $10. Scammers used that knowledge to program a series of small amounts, ranging from twenty-five cents to nine dollars. Investigators report that only six percent of the fraudulent charges involved in the case were ever reported to credit card issuers as errors.

According to FTC officials, most of the mules thought that they were involved with legitimate global companies that required an American presence to accept credit card payments for online purchases. By investigating the work-at-home accomplices who withdrew stolen cash from local bank branches, government attorneys hope to root out the real masterminds behind the credit card scam.

About the Author


Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.