Money Mule Initiative
Money Mule Initiative
Money Mules Fuel Fraud
Whether it is cash, packages, gift cards, or virtual currency, assisting money movement puts money in the pockets of criminals. Think twice before assisting money movement!
What are money mules?
Money mules are people who, at someone else’s direction, receive and move money obtained from victims of fraud. Some money mules know that they have been recruited to assist criminal activity. Knowingly moving money for illegal activities can lead to serious consequences—including criminal charges. Others money mules, however, move money at someone else’s direction, not knowing that their activity benefits fraudsters. These individual, even if they don’t realize it, enable fraudsters to harm others.
How do people become money mules?
Some people become money mules after responding to online job ads or social media postings. These positions often have ill-defined responsibilities and involve little more than sending or receiving money or packages or opening accounts.
Other people become money mules after being told they have won a sweepstakes or strike up an online relationship. Although the stories money mules are told vary by scheme, fraudsters will ask that the person receive money from people they do not know and forward the money on. Never agree to move money from someone you’ve never met in person.
How do money mules fuel fraud?
Money mules are sent money by people they don’t know and then, at the direction of someone else, provide the funds to other people. Some fraudsters ask money mules to receive packages containing money or ask money mules to allow funds to be deposited into the money mules’ accounts. Fraudsters may ask money mules to wire money, purchase gift cards or virtual currency, or even provide someone else access to the money mules’ accounts. Regardless of the specifics of the money movement, the bottom line is the same: money moves from victims' accounts and nest eggs into fraudsters’ pockets.
The illegally acquired money moved by money mules comes from victims of scams, including romance scams, lottery scams, government imposter scams, and technical support scams. Money received and forwarded by money mules could also be swindled from businesses or stolen from government funds earmarked for pandemic relief.