What Are Scammer Money Mules?
We have published in the past on this topic and it is one that is of significant concern to scam victims because they can easily cross the line from being a victim to an accomplice.
First, What Is A Money Mule Scam
Here’s How They Work:
Someone might offer you a job. Or say you’ve won a sweepstakes. Or start an online relationship with you. Whatever the story, next they want to send you money – and then ask you to send it on to someone else.
They often say to wire the money or use gift cards.
But that money is stolen. And there never was a job, a prize, or a relationship (romance) – only a scam.
That scammer was trying to get you to be what some people call a “money mule.”
If you deposit a scammer’s check, it might clear. But later, when the bank finds out it’s a fake check, you’ll have to repay the bank. And if you help a scammer move stolen money – even if you didn’t know it was stolen – you could get into legal trouble because it is a major crime.
Here’s What You Can Do:
The simplest answer is to keep your money to yourself. Never agree to move money for someone who contacts you, even if they promise a relationship, job, or prize. You could lose money and get you in legal trouble.
Pass on this information to a friend. You may see through these scams. But chances are you know someone who could use a friendly reminder. The truth is though, anyone can be scammed and lured into this – being smart is no defense. The only defense is to not participate at all, even out of curiosity!
In More Detail
Scammers may try to use you to move stolen money. If you help them, you could be what law enforcement calls a “money mule”.
Money mule scams happen in several ways
The story often involves scams related to online dating, work-at-home jobs, or prizes. Scammers send money to you, sometimes by check, then ask you to send (some of) it to someone else. They often want you to use gift cards or wire transfers. Of course, they don’t tell you the money is stolen and they’re lying about the reason to send it. And there never was a relationship, job, or prize. Only a scam.
What happens next?
If you deposit the scammer’s check, it may clear but then later turn out to be a fake check. The bank will want you to repay it. If you give the scammer your account information, they may misuse it. You could even get into legal trouble for helping a scammer move stolen money.
How can you avoid money mule scams?
- Don’t accept a job that asks you to transfer money. They may tell you to send money to a “client” or “supplier.” Say no. You may be helping a scammer move stolen money.
- Never send money to collect a prize. That’s always a scam, and they might be trying to get you to move stolen money.
- Don’t send money back to an online love interest who’s sent you money. Also always a scam — and another a way to get you to move stolen money.
Criminals are good at making up reasons to help them move money. Don’t do it. The money may be from other people they scammed. You may be helping criminals hurt people just like you.
If you think you might be involved in a money mule or money transfer scam, stop transferring money. Notify your bank, the wire transfer service (Western Union, MoneyGram, etc.), or any gift card companies involved. Then, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint » AND the FBI ic3.gov »
Unfortunately, the FTC, the FBI, and other agencies do not share the reports they receive. This is why SCARS created the SCARS|CDN™ Cybercrime Data Network to distribute reports worldwide. You can report scams on this SCARS website or on www.Anyscam.com.
More About Money Mules:
DON’T ACCEPT ANYTHING FROM STRANGERS!