Hoosier Hills Credit Union wants our members to be educated and up to date on the latest schemes so you can keep your funds fully protected. A current popular scheme is the money mule scam.
A Money Mule Scam occurs when the victim, often unknowingly, acts as a “mule” to transfer money so criminals avoid financial institutions. Commonly, they lure their victims in through online dating, advertising work-at-home jobs, or even prizes online. Once the criminal sends money they’ll ask you to send it to someone else, typically someone you don’t even know. Often, they will instruct you to use gift cards or wire transfers as payment, which is a common tip off of the money mule scam. What they don’t tell you is the money they’re using has been gained illegally from other scams, human trafficking, theft, etc.
Whether you are oblivious to the Money Mule Scam or not, involvement carries both legal and financial risks to you.
Signs You May Be Acting as a Money Mule:
- You received an unsolicited email or friend request over social media claiming easy money for little to no effort.
- The “employer” you communicate with uses email accounts such as Gmail or Yahoo.
- You are asked to open up a bank account in your name.
- As an employee, you are asked to receive funds in your bank account and then “process funds” or “transfer funds” via a wire transfer.
- You are allowed to keep a portion of the money you transfer.
How to Avoid Money Mule Scams
- Don’t accept a job that asks you to transfer money. You could be helping a criminal move money illegally gained.
- 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.