According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), scammers use you for transferring and laundering stolen money, making you a ‘money mule.’ Thus, if a stranger tries to send you money online, it is most likely a money mule scam. You can easily fall for this scam through online dating, work-from-home jobs, or giveaways. It is difficult to confirm whether the person you think you are dating on social media apps is a scammer or to identify people with promises of gifts or prizes. Scammers take advantage of the fact that their real identity can remain hidden behind social media and easily fraud people. However, consultation firms like TheClaimers can conduct in-depth investigations to reveal these scammers’ identities and file legal cases against them.
How does the Money Mule scam work?
Scammers might maintain a relationship with you online, offer you a work-from-home job, or claim you have won the lottery or sweepstakes. After establishing contact with you through any of these methods, the scammers send you money and then request you to send a part of it to another account. Gift cards or wire transfers are preferred by scammers for transferring the money, making it difficult for the fraud victim and authorities to trace it. At first, it will not seem like a scam because you receive a certain part of the total amount for transferring it to someone else. However, there was no real relationship, job, or prize.
Moreover, you don’t realize that you get yourself entangled in criminal activity. You could also get involved in legal matters if you successfully help the scammer move the stolen money despite not knowing it was stolen. If you deposit a cheque from the scammer, the bank could also hold you responsible for depositing a fake cheque.
Who is most vulnerable to this scam?
Individuals from different age groups are used by scammers as their ‘money mule’; however, some people are easier targets compared to others. These include students looking for employment opportunities or interested in a relationship, small-scale businesses, and senior citizens. Various channels like employment websites, dating platforms, social media platforms, and phishing emails are used by scammers to target people, making them money mules without their knowledge.
If you have fallen victim to this scam, contact the investigative firm, TheClaimers, and get back the money you lost to this fraud!
3 Types Of Money Mule Scams:
Individuals are aware of their involvement in the money mule scam and continue participating in it. They also open multiple bank accounts within the same country or travel to different countries to open bank accounts to receive money from scammers as part of the money mule scam. Moreover, they clearly present themselves as money mules along with the cost of their services as money mules. Recruiting more money mules to work with them is also an important part of their dealings.
Individuals choose to ignore any signs which might indicate their involvement in money mule scams. They also open multiple accounts in different banks and don’t pay much attention to their suspicious financial activity. These individuals might have been warned by banks about their fraudulent activities. However, they are driven by greed for more money, do not acknowledge their illegal involvement, and continue actively participating in the scam.
Individuals are unaware of the role they are playing in the scams. They might have unknowingly been recruited by a scammer through a work-from-home job offer or online dating platforms. The individual might believe in the existence of a proper job or relationship with the scammer, but their bank account will be misused for transferring stolen money. Scammers might ask the ‘money mule’ to open a new bank account and keep a certain portion of the funds before transferring it. Otherwise, the personal bank account of the victim is used in the scam.
Now you know how this scam works and who is most frequently targeted by scammers for this scam. But what if you think you’ve fallen victim to this scam?
Steps to follow if you think you were used as a ‘money mule’:
- Stop all communication with the scammer
- Do not transfer any money to other accounts as requested by the scammer
- Gather data on all past transactions and communications with the scammer, such as receipts and text messages or email, respectively
- Report the incident to your bank and inform them about the payment method you used, like wire transfer or credit/debit card
- Report the incident and suspected scammer to law enforcement agencies, like the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ftc.gov/complaint.
- Contact third-party companies like TheClaimers to investigate the identities of the scammers and take legal action against them.