Am I a Money Mule?
Are you receiving funds along with instructions on how to use the funds or where to transfer them next? If so, you may be a money mule. A Money mule is someone who moves illegally acquired money on behalf of someone else.
How did this happen?
Many people unknowingly become money mules by responding to social media posts, online job ads, false sweepstakes prize claims, or through an online relationship. The funds transfer may be initiated as payment for a service or prize, but they come with conditions to either receive the full payment promised or continued payments in the future. Other transfers are built on love and trust through an online relationship. These are the hardest to detect because of the human element involved in the backstory.
What are the consequences?
Participating as a money mule, knowing or unknowingly, is illegal and you could be prosecuted and incarcerated as part of a criminal money laundering conspiracy. Not only could you be charged for the crime, but acting as a money mule can damage your credit and financial standing.
If you are involved in a money mule scheme, cease all communication with the fraudster. If any funds have went through your account, contact your financial institution and consider opening a new account. If you released any personal identifying information, contact the credit reporting bureaus to place a credit freeze to prevent any unauthorized activity. Lastly, notify law enforcement.
How can I protect myself from this happening?
Do your research. If you are considering an online job ad, search for that company and reach out to them directly. Make sure to include the word “scam” in your searches. If you receive a notice that you won a lottery, ask yourself if you participated in it to begin with. Again, research online with the word “scam”. Most importantly, never share your financial details with anyone you do not know, especially if you met them online.
Is my account safe?
If you are a victim of a scam resulting in you acting as a money mule, contact your financial institution immediately. Your financial security and identity protection is our highest priority. Steps to secure your account and advise you on further legal action will begin immediately.
More info on other scams:
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