Internet Scams Targeting Growing Out of Work Population

This is a rush transcript from "America's News HQ," December 9, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETCHEN CARLSON, HOST: Scam alert, and beware. New Internet scams are taking advantage of this recession by targeting the newly unemployed, some scammers asking people to pay up front to work. And then there are the classic work-at- home jobs. Well, they all sound too good to be true.

With more than 500,000 jobs cut in the month of November, many people are falling prey to these tricks. So what can you do to avoid these online traps?

Robert Siciliano, an Internet security expert and the CEO of is my next guest.

All right. You are the perfect guy for this. Good to see you today, Robert.


Video: Watch Gretchen Carlson's interview

CARLSON: I understand you were just telling our producers, one of these cyber-scams is happening through cyber ads. Give us this anecdotal situation.

SICILIANO: Well, McAfee came up with a report today that with this global recession, you have — international cyber-criminals are actually placing ads in, you know, legitimate online job postings for shipping managers, for international sales reps, where the shipping manager, who is really a cyber mule, will receive product that has been purchased with fraudulent credit cards.

They thereby ship that product overseas to the cyber criminals themselves. They're also cashing checks for those cyber criminals, laundering that money for them, taking a very small percentage in some cases and then sending it off to the cyber-criminal somewhere else in the world.

CARLSON: And then those of the guys getting caught, right? So this is why you need to be careful. So the number one rule that you have for people is if you have to pay to get a job, then you know there is some funny business there?

SICILIANO: Absolutely. Anytime there is a job posting and they ask you to plunk down $95 for a background check, they're asking you to put money upfront so they can get you a job or do a background check, you have to know that this is a scam right there.

CARLSON: All right. So you avoid those upfront fees. This is a big one and a lot of people have heard this before, but don't give out your social security number over the phone, ever.

SICILIANO: Absolutely. You know, you will see a posting and they'll ask for basic personal information and somewhere along the way, they will weave in getting that social security number from you. Once they get that, they open up numerous financial accounts under your name and they own you.

CARLSON: What about all those ads out there that say, "Hey, you can work at home for only three hours a week and end up making money than anyone else who works 40 hours a week"?

SICILIANO: Like mom said, if it's too good to be true, it is. And anytime you see a work at home scam — anytime you see work at home, know that is a scam. There is no doubt about it.

CARLSON: And you say that sometimes, they will pose as headhunters or even human resource managers.

SICILIANO: Sure. The whole goal here is to gain your trust. And once they gain your trust, whether it is a headhunter, a human resource manager or other, they are designed to extract funds from you, whether you are giving them credit card information, running a check, giving them personal identifying information like your social security number, it is designed to extract money or information out of you. Once they gain your trust, generally the desperate job seeker will give up that information and get scammed.

CARLSON: Yes, and unfortunately, there are a lot of desperate people out there right now. Good thing that they are listening to your tips. Robert Siciliano, thanks very much.

SICILIANO: Thank you.

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