School is back in session, and cybercriminals around the world are licking their chops. Hackers target college students through different avenues - Craigslist, Xbox, eBay… you name it, they are exploiting it. These cybercriminals start by purchasing products a college student might need (even specific course books) and selling it online below market price. They then send an extra, unexpected check to the buyer along with their purchase. The student is asked to cash the check on the sender’s behalf, stating that the student can keep some of the cash for going through the hassle. The hacker may even give in-depth reasoning why they can’t make it to the bank themselves.
This technique is called “Reverse Social Engineering.” The cybercriminal places themselves in a position to “help” a victim. The victim will think of the attacker as a trustworthy person because they have offered to solve a problem or fill a need.
Cybercriminals take advantage of people’s desire to help and willingness to trust, turning the student into a “Money Mule.” A Money Mule is a person who receives and/or transfers illegally acquired money on behalf of others EVEN if they had no awareness of these activities.
College students don’t think twice about FREE money. Hackers intentionally execute schemes at the most opportune times, such as a couple months after school starts when money is running low and parents are long gone.
Always ask why your “new BFF” is such a nice person. Just because this individual has a Facebook account with a personal profile picture, they may not be who they claim to be. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. When you suspect something suspicious is happening, be sure to stop, ask a lot of questions, and help keep your information safe.
Written by: William Bushong, CBSM
Regional Sales Representative - SBS
Hacker Hour webinars are a series of free webinars hosted by SBS CyberSecurity. Unlike paid webinars, Hacker Hours are aimed to meet on a monthly basis to discuss cybersecurity issues and trends in an open format. Attendees are encouraged to join the conversation and get their questions answered. SBS will also offer products and services to help financial institutions with these specific issues.