A money mule is a person who transfers stolen money between different countries.
Money mules are recruited, sometimes unwittingly, by criminals to transfer illegally obtained money between different bank accounts. Money mules receive the stolen funds into their account, they are then asked to withdraw it and wire the money to a different account, often one overseas, keeping some of the money for themselves.
Even if you’re unaware that the money you’re transferring was illegally obtained, you have played an important role in fraud and money laundering, and can still be prosecuted. Criminals will often use fake job adverts, or create social media posts about opportunities to make money quickly, in order to lure potential money mule recruits.
Behaviours that put you at risk of becoming a money mule
- Responding to job adverts, or social media posts that promise large amounts of money for very little work.
- Failing to research a potential employer, particularly one based overseas, before handing over your personal or financial details to them.
- Allowing an employer, or someone you don’t know and trust, to use your bank account to transfer money.
How to protect yourself
- No legitimate company will ever ask you to use your own bank account to transfer their money. Don’t accept any job offers that ask you to do this.
- Be especially wary of job offers from people or companies overseas as it will be harder for you to find out if they really are legitimate.
- Never give your financial details to someone you don’t know and trust.