Money Mules Fuel Fraud

Money mules are people who receive and move money obtained from victims of fraud. Some money mules know they have been recruited to assist criminal activity, while others become money mules without realizing their activity is benefiting fraudsters.

How do people become money mules?

Some of the most common instances of people becoming money mules come from responding to job advertisements that promise easy money for little effort, or helping someone they met online (ex. a dating website) or over the phone by agreeing to receive and transfer money.

How can you protect yourself?

Whether the criminal is requesting cash, packages, gift cards, or virtual currency, money movement could lead to serious consequences for you. There are a number of ways to protect yourself from money mule activity. By knowing the signs, you can help yourself and your community avoid assisting fraudsters.

  • Do not open a bank account or move money at someone else's direction.
  • Do not give someone access to your bank account or debit card.
  • Do not allow money from people you don't know to be deposited into your account.
  • Do not take a job that promises easy money and involves sending or receiving money or packages.
  • Do not agree to receive or forward packages.
  • Do not agree to purchase gift cards or virtual currency at someone's direction.

What if you have accidentally acted as a money mule?

If you have ever acted as a money mule, it is never too late to stop. Stop communicating with the person giving you direction immediately and tell your financial institution. You will have the option to change accounts. Report any suspicious communications or activity to law enforcement and continue to educate yourself about common scams and money mule activity. For more information, visit the Department of Justice website.