What Is A Money Mule?
A money mule is a person who transfers stolen money to several countries. Money mules are people who recruited by criminals to transfer money from one place to another in an illegal way. They tend to receive stolen funds into their account which are then asked to withdraw it and then transfer it again to another account.
The person who is in between the system transferring the illegal amount is mostly unaware of the money and yet have played an important role in the process. That person can still be punished for his tasks. People involved in money mule are treated as criminals and often use fake job adverts to attract innocent people’s attention. As soon as they get a suitable opportunity, they tend to steal money from them.
How Does A Money Mule Work?
Money mules act as intermediates to steal money from the victim and are often under the control of another fraudster. These fraudsters attract victims by creating a job advert, or other pop-up windows. You may also receive a telephonic call requesting your bank account details and other personal information. All this might lead to an actual money transaction and deposition into your account, after which you are supposed to transfer it to a foreign account. In some cases, the money mule receives a commission in exchange for the service provided.
How Does A Money Mule Message Look Like?
With the fast-evolving world, even the fraudsters are getting more advanced than ever. They have attained expertise in creating recruitment messages. These messages were often in broken English, but are now increasingly looking more professional than ever. They have proper grammar and the use of English is perfect.
The methods used by these money mules to attract money from people has also become more and more reasonable. Therefore causing more people to get deceived by the same. Here is a screenshot of the money mule message to show you how it looks like so that you’re careful the next time.
What Can You Do To Avoid Money Mules?
In order to protect yourself from such money mules and other fraudsters, you must know what these people do. We have done a lot of research and listed down a number of ways to help you protect yourself and avoid money mules.
- There is no legitimate company that will ever ask you to use your own bank account to transfer their money. You must not accept any job offers that ask your personal information.
- You must never give out your financial details to anyone you don’t know.
- Another thing that you must take care of job offers from outside the country, as they are even more difficult to trust. You will never know which one to trust and must be doubly sure about each step.
- You must take care in situations where you’re trying to sell something on a website, and the buyer accidentally paid you to double the amount of money. In such cases, they might illegally recruit you as a money mule.
What Can The Bank Do Avoid Money Mules?
The bank generally submits a complaint against these money mukes to save their customers. This would lead to the money mules not being able to ask for a loan from the bank, thus not being able to carry on with their intentions.
Some Examples of Money Mule Scams?
There are many ways that these fraudsters can reach out to you. Here are some examples of the same, to help you protect yourself from the scam. One such example is this scam email which is asking to recruit a mule through a job offer.
Sent: Tuesday, 5 February 2011 11:37 PM
To: Heather Wellard
Subject: Start your career with us Welcome to the Arcandor Service!
We are very glad that you wish to join our team, will be delighted to have you work with us. The position of Assistant provides support filling the transactions of our customers.
We deal exclusively with private clients- that have special requirements for high speed of receiving funds for their business.
This way we can offer a new kind of financial and banking service to our clients – and we would like you to work as an Assistant (part-time job 3-4 hours a day except for holidays).
At first, your work would be very basic, yet meticulous -you will make transfers for our clients to suit their needs. Our managers will assist you during the trial period and explain everything you will need to know.
We offer an extremely competitive graduated salary: for the first month you will receive up to $2000 for your work the next month your salary will be increased if you do your work accurately and on time.
Now you are only one step away from a successful career. All you need is to send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
With phone numbers and times to reach you, and one of our representatives will contact you and answer all your questions.
Thank you in advance,
This is one example of an email that they could send to you in order to attract you to be their money mule. It will be difficult for you to understand and figure out if this mail is authentic or not. Therefore, you must research on the company at your level, to save yourself. Money mules can also fake an entire website or business to make you believe them. You must ask yourself if an interview is conducted, or why would someone give you money if you don’t know that person?
Another example of a money mule gang that came into the picture recently around September 2016. This money mule turned to bitcoin ATMs and stole funds by making deposits from the hacked company into accounts owned by money mules. A company called LunarBay claimed to offer customer service executive jobs to a reader, who joined it. The company claims to be a software development firm.
The Canadian person who joined in was given around $870 per week and a five percent commission on every transaction she handled. She gave them her account details which made her suspicious. The scammers were trying to use her as a money mule and told her to withdraw the money they put in her account from the bank itself and not an ATM.
The fraudsters told her to target the next Bitcoin ATM and gave her instructions on how to make the payment using that ATM. It was a big scam as the value of Bitcoin is always changing. Also, because Bitcoin is a non-refundable form of payment, the transaction cannot be reversed.
Therefore you must be very careful in handling your financial accounts, as these fraudsters are getting smarter by the day. In the above scenario, the girl was nowhere at fault, as she double checked about the company. The only thing she could have avoided doing is that she shouldn’t have gone to withdraw the money according to the scammer’s attention.