Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team

RSN™ Special Report: The Basic 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. Model!

Scammers 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. their victims, but while the scam is ongoing, they convince the victim to do them a favor – receive some money or merchandise for them. It might be for business, from a family member, any story will do. Then send to it over to them!

Then the victim – who has now become 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. – sends it on to the scammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer..

Scammers Do This For Various Reasons:

  • They do not want other victims to know they are not where they say they are.
  • They want to convince other victims they are not a scammer
  • They want to buy things using stolen credit cards, and the Mule has a valid local address that will not raise alarms with the shipper.
The Money Mule Model

The Money Mule Model

Scammers use this model extensively. It is estimated that about 12% of 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. involve a Mule or trans-shipper.

The scammers also utilize Moles in their local Transfer Agency (such as Western Union) so that they never have to give out their real identity. When you have a Mole in the Western Union or MoneyGram shop, the money can come to any fake name and the Mole simply “pays” it out claiming they verified the identification.