Mexico City security officials are reportedly investigating an Internet fraud ring that used fake job offers to elicit resumes from potential employees, then used the information to extort the applicants.
There have been 50 complaints registered at the Federal District's Citizen's Council for Public Security in the past two weeks, reports Cronica.
Victims would reportedly receive e-mails using the names of large businesses like baked goods company Bimbo, dairy company Grupo Lala, or PepsiCo (who saw one of its subsidiary food companies attacked last week by the Knights Templar, in an assault believed to be linked to extortion).
The e-mails described jobs offers and asked the recipients to respond with the resumes and other personal data. Sometimes the e-mails would be sent from fake g-mail accounts using the names of the big businesses, like firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sometimes the applicants would be told that they had to deposit 200 pesos (about $14) in a bank account, to pay for medical tests that formed part of the job application process.
Other applicants received threats that referred to personal data made available in their resumes. The threatening messages promised not to harm the applicant's family in exchange for a 3,000 peso payment (about $212), to be deposited in a local bank account.
Mexico City's Attorney General Office said that they have since closed this bank account, but they have not yet identified how many people could have been involved in this extortion scheme. The Cronica report notes that it is likely that the extortionists used public Internet cafes to send the e-mails, to make them more difficult to track down.
The case has reportedly now been handed over to the cyber crime unit of the Attorney General's Office.
InSight Crime Analysis
The Internet is a convenient tool that can be used for extortion threats, thanks to the anonymity it can provide and its accessibility. The usage of the Internet for extortion is another symptom of the democratization of crime: it is relatively easy for anyone to get involved in this kind of scheme.
A congressman said last year that Mexico has more reported incidents of cybercrime than anywhere else in the world. As this latest case in Mexico City indicates, the government has good reason to bulk up its capacity to fight this kind of illicit activity.