Money Mules – What Are The Risks?
Law Enforcement is changing their attitude about Money Mules! You cannot hide – they will come for you if you do not report this first!
#YourAccountYourCrime – Don’t Become A Money 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.!
Criminal 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. organizations often rely on money 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. to conceal the origin of their illicit Illicit means something that is not legally permitted or authorized under the law; unlicensed; unlawful. It can also mean disapproved of or not permitted for moral or ethical reasons. funds. The aim is to make funds appear legitimate and at the same time distance criminal groups from prosecution. This action also makes it difficult for law enforcement to trace money trails.
Money mules are people who knowingly or, in certain cases, unknowingly help criminal organizations launder their illicit profits. They do this by providing their own accounts to help receive and transfer fraudulent funds, thereby “legitimizing” it.
To highlight this threat, INTERPOL is launching its #YourAccountYourCrime campaign. This two-week campaign (10-26 August 2022) will raise awareness of money mules and provide tips on how to stay safe.
How are money mules recruited?
Criminals recruit money mules in various ways. For example, some individuals are lured with the promise of financial gain or they receive a commission for their service. In other cases, they are motivated by trust or are solicited via online scams 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.. Others provide support because they believe they have a romantic relationship with the individual who is asking for help.
The #YourAccountYourCrime campaign focuses on four key ways criminal organizations recruit money mules:
- Job scams: you are contacted about a new job without having applied to any position and where the “employer” doesn’t provide any details about their company;
- Romance scams: you are contacted online via social media or a dating platform;
- Investment scams When a caller claims to have a promising investment opportunity that will help you get rich quick, it's likely a scam.: you receive a message to make big returns on an investment relatively easily;
- Impersonation An impersonator is someone who imitates or copies the behavior or actions of another. There are many reasons for impersonating someone, such as: part of a criminal act such as identity theft, online impersonation scam, or other fraud. This is usually where the criminal is trying to assume the identity of another, in order to commit fraud, such as accessing confidential information or to gain property not belonging to them. Also known as social engineering and impostors. scams: calls or messages from individuals pretending to be from courier companies or government agencies asking you for your personal/bank details.
Tips To Help You Avoid Becoming A Victim
- Be suspicious of anyone who wants to use your bank account to receive and forward money.
- Never give your financial details to someone you don’t know and trust.
- If you suspect you’ve been used as a money mule, cease all communications and report it to your bank and the authorities.
What Are The Implications?
The #YourAccountYourCrime campaign will highlight the fact that you may face prosecution by acting as a money mule. “If you use your account, it could also become your crime!”
This means that you may still be found complicit as part of a money-laundering scheme even if you weren’t aware of how your bank account was being used.
Project TORAID – fighting transnational financial crime in Southeast Asia. This awareness campaign comes under Project TORAID. The overall goal of the TORAID initiative is to strengthen global safety and financial security within Southeast Asia. Amongst key activities, this project supports member countries in identifying and investigating illicit financial flows.
If You Are Or Were A 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.?
If you think you have been used by criminals to funnel or launder money follow these steps immediately – you have NO TIME to waste!
- Contact a local criminal defense attorney to explore your options and rights.
- Report to your local police The Local Police is your first responder in most countries. In most English-speaking countries and in Europe report to them first. In other countries look for your national cybercrime police units to report scams to. In the U.S., Canada, & Australia, you must report to the local police first. – tell them EVERYTHING. Have your attorney with you to help.
- Report any misuse of your financial accounts to the financial institution or bank.
- Make sure you have zero further contact with the criminals.
- Join a professional online crime victims’ support group 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. (such as with SCARS) – this may help your defense if it proves necessary.
- Find a local trauma 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 or therapist.
If you do not do these things, the police will eventually show up at your door and you may be arrested and face prosecution.