A money mule is a person who transfers money stolen on behalf of others via their bank account. Money mules are also called Smurfs, people who transfer money acquired or stolen from another person to others in the name of a courier service.
While money mules have traditionally been used to transfer physical amounts of cash between locations, they are also used in the modern financial context to open and manage bank accounts to facilitate the deposit, transfer, or withdrawal of illicit funds.
What is a Money Mule?
Once criminals get hold of the money, they have to hide and launder the source of the money. One method they use is to search for people to transfer the money on their behalf. If you help a fraudster move stolen money, you may not know it has been stolen and you could be in legal trouble.
People like Denise transfer money from a crime by first depositing it into her own bank account. They then distribute the money to the fraud chain using gift cards, bank transfers, money orders, digital payment apps, or Bitcoin, for example.
Money mules, also called Smurfs, are often duped or recruited in this way because they are assumed to have a legitimate occupation and are not aware that the money they transfer is the product of a crime.
Money launderers are recruited by criminals to transfer or receive money from various bank accounts. The fraudster asks the money mule to transfer money, buy gift cards or virtual currency and gain access to the mule’s account.
The money is transferred from the mule’s account to the fraudsters.
Criminals recruit money launderers to launder the proceeds of online fraud, fraud, human trafficking, and drug trafficking. To avoid detection by law enforcement, criminals use money laundering techniques to hide the identity of the source and destination of the illegally obtained money.
The stories a mule tells vary, but the scheme is usually that the scammer asks a person to get money from people they don’t know to forward it to someone else.
A legitimate company may ask you to use your own bank account to transfer its money. Never agree to transfer money to someone who contacts you if they promise a relationship, job, or prize.
When you transfer money or other valuables, you will receive contractual information and relevant communications (e.g. E-mails, SMS) and notify your bank of the services you use to carry out the transaction.
This is a story about a fraudster who wants to send you money and asks you to send it. A fraudster sends you money by cheque and asks you to send it to someone else. They use a scam to try to get you to move the stolen money.
The money mule agrees to provide his bank details and cash deposit into his account and follows the instructions to transfer the money to the bank account.
The offender offers the mule a wage, receives the money in his bank account, transfers the money to another account, conceals the origin of the money, and assumes liability for the money if the bank finds that the cheque is bad or the money has been stolen.
Job-from-home fraud is a widespread form of a money-fraud recruiter who pretends to offer easy money for administrative tasks such as printing labels, sending parcels, buying gift cards, cashing checks, and transferring money.
By targeting young people as money carriers, criminals can condemn themselves to failure by depositing large amounts of money into accounts where there is not much money.
The number of people under 30 who are suspected of being a money mule soared last year to 80%, according to figures from the Crime Prevention Agency (CIFAS).
University semesters are starting soon and students are most likely to be targeted by seductive job advertisements on social media. Criminals often target vulnerable people who are likely to need money, and many students are targeted.
By managing the money through your personal account, you can launder the money and remove any traces of it from any criminal past. Holly, if in a bank branch, try to withdraw money from the fraudster, and bank staff will ask for further details about the company that deposited the money into your account.
Some companies offer jobs by recruiting individuals to open bank accounts and move money.
Electronic forms of money laundering and transfers make it difficult for law enforcement authorities to detect illegal funds obtained through fraud, Internet fraud, drug trafficking, and trafficking in human beings.
Customers found to have used their accounts for money laundering are recorded into national fraud databases preventing them from opening bank accounts, applying for loans, or mobile phone contracts.
Some people who are served with money mules have their personal data stolen by criminals, which can lead to the theft of their financial assets.
Online fraud has increased by a third since the pandemic started, with consumers losing £23 billion. Criminal gangs are targeting young people with clean records to help them transfer stolen money undetected by banks and authorities.
According to the Mimecast Threat Center, this particular money scam has been going on for months and is getting more serious as students go to colleges and universities around the world to confront the Covid 19 pandemic and a sense of chaos.