Get out your bunting - Get Safe Online week 2009 has officially begun. Get Safe Online is an initiative between the government, the Serious Organised Crime Agency and various private sector partners which aims to educate individuals and small businesses on how to keep safe online.
The scheme has been running for 5 years or so and is headquartered at GetSafeOnline.org. In the past, the focus has been on topics like identity theft and phishing, but this year the main thrust has been to educate people about the dangers of becoming a "mule".
As explained in the video above, a "mule" is a person whose bank account is used to launder money. You sign up (usually through a job ad) with your bank details, you receive cash, and then forward it on to other people via wire transfer. They want you because your account has been clean for years, you have good credit history, and as a result you're less likely to get caught.
If you are caught, though, you're implicated in a web of crime, liable for all those transfers, likely in lots of debt (because the cash that appeared in your account is confiscated) and your credit history will be ruined. Not a good idea.
So next time you spot one of those appealing-looking job ads, or someone contacts you out-of-the-blue with a job offer for a vague-looking company, it's probably best to ignore it. Be safe out there.