5 Steps Guide For Money Mules

Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team

Are You A Money MuleMoney Mule A money mule sometimes called a "smurfer," is a person who transfers money acquired illegally (e.g., stolen) in person, through a courier service, or electronically, on behalf of others (usually criminals that they are knowingly or unknowingly affiliated). Typically, the mule is paid for services with a small part of the money transferred - but not always. Mules may or may not be aware that they are performing these actions. Money mules are often dupes recruited online for what they think is legitimate employment, not aware that the money they are transferring is the product of crime. The money is transferred from the mule's account to the scam operator, typically in another country. Similar techniques are used to transfer illegal merchandise. Mules can be prosecuted for numerous crimes.?

This page will help you better understand what a Money Mule is and the potential consequences to someone that became involved.

Always remember that if you were involved unknowingly, you must contact your local police or you might be considered an active participant.

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5 Steps Guide For Money MulesMoney mules Money mules are a type of money laundering where a person transfers illicit funds through a medium (such as a bank account) to obfuscate where the money came from. There are different types of money mules including witting, unwitting, and complicit.

Have You Received or Collected Money for a Scammer or a Stranger? – Now What?

This Is A Very Confusing Time For You

You may or may not have been the victim of a scamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. – some mules are involved in a romance scam, employment scamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost., etc., and some participate thinking they are going to make quick money! You may be in confusion, fear, and angerAnger Anger, also known as wrath or rage, is an intense emotional state involving a strong uncomfortable and non-cooperative response to a perceived provocation, trigger, hurt or threat. About one-third of scam victims become trapped in anger for extended periods of time following a scam. A person experiencing anger will often experience physical effects, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and increased levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Some view anger as an emotion that triggers a part of the fight or flight response. Anger becomes the predominant feeling behaviorally, cognitively, and physiologically. Anger can have many physical and mental consequences. While most of those who experience anger explain its arousal as a result of "what has happened to them", psychologists point out that an angry person can very well be mistaken because anger causes a loss in self-monitoring capacity and objective observability.. You will be unsure about what to do now.

We have helped millions of scam victims and many many money mules and we know that it comes down to FIVE (5) BASIC STEPS.

First Thing

You need to understand that this may not be your fault, but there can be serious consequences unless you act responsibly now!

Do not feel ashamed of what happened. The scammers are professionals – yes scammers, there was more than one – they work in teams. They are expert manipulators, and you were not prepared. That assumes that you did not act as a muleMule A money mule sometimes called a "smurfer," is a person who transfers money acquired illegally (e.g., stolen) in person, through a courier service, or electronically, on behalf of others (usually criminals that they are knowingly or unknowingly affiliated). Typically, the mule is paid for services with a small part of the money transferred - but not always. Mules may or may not be aware that they are performing these actions. Money mules are often dupes recruited online for what they think is legitimate employment, not aware that the money they are transferring is the product of crime. The money is transferred from the mule's account to the scam operator, typically in another country. Similar techniques are used to transfer illegal merchandise. Mules can be prosecuted for numerous crimes. willingly.

Time is important after you discover the activity – there is a limited window for the police to act to help you in sorting this out. But if you do not report this to them, and they come after you, you may be facing criminalCriminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues. prosecution.

This is going to be hard, and most mules will not want to face this.

When the time comes to talk with your family & friends, and we recommend that you get the advice of a criminal defense attorney immediately.

THE 5 STEPS™

STEP 1: Stop All Communications!

You must blockBlock Blocking is a technical action usually on social media or messaging platforms that restricts or bans another profile from seeing or communicating with your profile. To block someone on social media, you can usually go to their profile and select it from a list of options - often labeled or identified with three dots ••• all contact with your scammers or whoever you were receiving or collecting money for.  And make absolutely sure that you preserve all evidence of your communications with the criminals.

You may be unsure if they are criminals, but let the police make that decision for you – just assume they are.

STEP 2: Accept That You Were Involved

This means that you have to accept that you are the victim of a crime. It is all about the deception, it was all lies. Nothing that you were told is the truth, so none of the stories or promises matter anymore because they were all lies. This is hard to accept, but it is what you have to do to be able to move forward.

As part of this STEP, you must report it to the police – this is your confirmation to yourself that you accept that you were involved in this even if you did not know that you were. You start with your local police – this is not easy, you will feel embarrassed and shameShame Shame is an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation of the self; withdrawal motivations; and feelings of distress, exposure, mistrust, powerlessness, and worthlessness., but you do not need to. The police are not always going to be sensitive to scam victims, but reporting matters regardless. This is your lifesaver because you will need to report and cooperate if they are going to take your side – if they have to come and find you it can become very serious and possibly involve jail time.

Once this is done, put it all away and don’t look at it again if possible.

STEP 3: Focus Only On Yourself

You will be doing this Step before, during, and after Steps 4 & 5

Do not try to track down or contact anyone, do not try to be a vigilante, let the police do their job. Any further contact with the people you were involved with could alert them about police involvement – you do not want that.

Now you need to focus on your own emotional health and stability. Scams can be very traumatizing and they can lead to serious mental illnessMental Illness Mental illness, also called mental health disorders, refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking, and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors. unless you take care of yourself. The scam happened, but now it is time to turn your back on that and focus on yourself and how you are going to move forward and recover.

We recommend that you take two immediate actions to help yourself:

  1. Join one of our support groupsSupport Groups In a support group, members provide each other with various types of help, usually nonprofessional and nonmaterial, for a particular shared, usually burdensome, characteristic, such as romance scams. Members with the same issues can come together for sharing coping strategies, to feel more empowered and for a sense of community. The help may take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others' experiences, providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks. A support group may also work to inform the public or engage in advocacy. They can be supervised or not. SCARS support groups are moderated by the SCARS Team and or volunteers. or forums: On Facebook go here (SCARS Education & Support Group) or go to www.ScamVictimSupport.org and join our support forums for scam victims (assuming that you are one.)
  2. If you feel you need someone locally to talk to we recommend that you seek a local traumaTrauma Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety or other emotional shocks, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can result in trauma, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective circumstances that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized. Trauma requires treatment, either through counseling or therapy or through trauma-oriented support programs, such as those offered by SCARS. counselor. If you are looking for local trauma counselors please visit https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/trauma-and-ptsd

You do not need to tell your family or friends at this point unless you need to – that can wait until you are feeling stronger.

The process of recovery will take some time – it depends on how long you were in the scam, and the involvement as a mule, and the depth of the trauma you are experiencing. Do not try to rush it and do not assume you will get over it instantly. Most scam victims will need months and sometimes longer to return to emotional stability. How seriously you take your recovery will determine how successful you will be – there are no shortcuts. It is hard and it takes work.

The self-imposed trauma from being a mule can also add to your guilt and sense of shame. Mules enable scams and can do real harm to many people.

A Word About Fear

Many scam victims, especially those that engage in being a money or parcel mule are in fear after they discover the real situation. You might be afraid of the scammer’s threats or something else. you might be afraid of legal consequences. You do not need to be afraid – the police will help you sort this out, but do contact an attorney first. But if you really feel fearful tell your local police about this too.

If You Need To Talk To Someone Right Now

If you feel that you must talk to someone right now call this number (in the U.S. & Canada): 1-800-273-8255 – it is available 24 hours in English and Spanish. To find other crisis hotlines for your country search on Google for “Crisis Hotline.” Remember, there is no shame in asking for help.

Lock Yourself Down

After the scam and any involvement as a mule, you will need to make sure that you lock down your social media profiles to ensure that the scammers cannot see your life anymore! Go through your privacy setting and change anything public to private.

Also, if you shared any financial or banking information with your scammers you will need to protect those accounts. Contact your bank and notify them you have been scammed and change your account numbers and access information – do this for anything that you think might be at risk.

STEP 4: Talk with an Attorney

We recommend that anyone that thinks they were involved as a Money Mule or other type talk with a criminal defense attorney immediately. Being involved in a criminal enterprise is not something to be ignored. You will need guidance and possibly legal support when you talk to the local police, and help to make sure the police do not hold you criminally responsible.

Additionally, even if the police do not charge you for any crime, other victims can hold you responsible for their financial losses. So you may be facing civil litigation in the future and you will need legal support.

STEP 5: Talk with the Police

This is going to be scary, but this is the right thing to do because if you don’t they will find you eventually. If they have to track you down, you could be facing charges, do your best to avoid that by going to them first and cooperating in every way possible (as your attorney advises.)

Expect to be there for the whole day. Police interviews can be very lengthy and they will need to make sure they know everything. Hold nothing back, tell them everything. If they think you are being deceptive it will only make it worse.

Did You Receive Money From A Scammer, Or Give A Scammer Access To Your Accounts?

You may have become a Money Mule. This is a crime!

You may have been involved in money launderingMoney laundering Money laundering is the illegal process of concealing the origins of money obtained illegally by passing it through a complex sequence of banking transfers or commercial transactions. Money laundering can be done through various mediums, leveraging a variety of payment vehicles, people and institutions. or aiding and abetting transnational criminals. Do not try to hide from this – this is serious, and if you are discovered (and you will be) then you might be prosecuted.

You should report these crimes to your local police – however, we strongly recommend that you speak with a Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. You have no time to waste. You cannot avoid this, do it today!

SCARS is not a law firm and we are not attorneys. The information we provide is for educational purposes only. See additional disclaimer below.

To find a criminal defense attorney in the United States visit FindLaw here: Criminal Law – FindLaw  For other countries look for your local directory of criminal defense attorneys or solicitors.

To Learn More

At this point, you have to focus on learning to better understand what happened to you. You are a victim and became a mule – that does not mean you are an expert in scams. Learning is an essential part of controlling your fear, anger, and confusion. It is part of your recovery process.

SCARS publishes a number of guides and information to help a Money Mule understand their situation.

The consequences are serious and we can not overstate how important it is to take control of the situation by learning, speaking with an attorney, and reporting to the police.

By cooperating with the police you may well be saving other victims from losing their life savings. Your silence will only enable the scammers or criminals to make more victims!

Do the right thing. Do your duty and report these crimes!

Don't Become A Money Mule! Or Else!

If you think you have become involved as a money mule or in any other way supporting criminals you can contact us confidentially by email at Contact@AgainstScams.org — we are not attorneys, but we are a victims’ assistance provider and we are here to help guide you.

What Is A Money Mule

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One Comment

  1. YeVonne Johnson March 25, 2021 at 1:37 am - Reply

    This is a great article and clearly details how the process works .

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