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Money Mules Explained

Money Mules Explained

Money Mules Trap

When you find yourself in need of employment, any hint of a job can seem like a great thing. However, in today’s day and age, and with all of the Internet scams that seem to be popping up on a daily basis, you have to be careful that you don’t unintentionally become a money mule.

How?

A money mule is often someone who is recruited online for what they think is a legitimate employment opportunity, but is really being duped into transferring stolen money. They are often recruited via job advertisements for “payment processing agents”, and “money transfer agents”. Sometimes they are even asked to sign official looking contracts with the “company” for which they think they will be working.

Getting Caught

The stolen money can be transferred by cash in person, through a courier service, or electronically. Often the mules are not aware that the money they are transferring is a product of criminal activity. The money mules may be used to transfer stolen money from online fraud and phishing scams, and they themselves risk criminal prosecution as the actual criminals have found a way to distance themselves from the stolen money via the money mule.

In this recession, with an ever-increasing number of us needing to find employment or enlarge our incomes, almost any opportunity to earn money easily will seem very attractive. It is because of this that the money launderers have few problems in recruiting a constant stream of unknowing money mules.

Typically, the monies will have been scammed from a victim through advance fee fraud. The cash is paid into the mules’ bank account. The mule then pays most of it to the scammer, usually by less secure money transfer services like Western Union or MoneyGram. Even though the money mule has nothing to do with the money stolen from another person’s account, by allowing the mule’s own account to be used to receive or transfer funds, they are acting illegally.

Occasionally, the criminals send the mule fake cheques. These appear to clear for a brief period, during which the mule is pushed into sending the bulk of the ‘payment’ to the Scammers. Soon, the cheque bounces and the bank recoups the delinquent funds from the mule, using court action if required.

Be forwarned

Don’t be tricked into becoming a money mule! The police will be able to track you down but will have a harder time finding the actual online criminals who are hiding behind you. Don’t be tricked into a high-paying seems-too-good-to-be-true job…if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.