People often think of “money mules” as people who agree to launder illegally obtained money to keep it from being found and seized by authorities. The truth is that people often unknowingly become money mules.
Unfortunately, ignorance of what you’re doing doesn’t necessarily make you immune from legal consequences, including prison time. By becoming familiar with the signs of a money laundering scam, you can better avoid becoming a “mule.”
Beware of job opportunities that are too good to be true
If you see an ad for a fast, easy way to make money, beware. You definitely want to steer clear of any “job” that involves money moving in and out of your bank account. Other red flags include the following:
- Requirement that you have a bank account and that you give your new “employer” your account information
- Lack of details about what kind of business you’d be working for
- Lack of inquiry about your experience or skills
- Email addresses that are from Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and other servers that aren’t typically used by businesses
- No contact other than online with the “employer”
- Spelling, grammar and punctuation errors in the ad or other written communications
Ads and solicitations for these kinds of “jobs” are often found on social media or sent via email. You may even get a text or direct message from someone you don’t know – or who has hacked someone you know.
What the “job” involves
Scammers will send money (likely made through criminal activity) to a person’s account with instructions to transfer that money to someone else in exchange for a “commission.” That money is then used for other criminal activity, like drug or human trafficking and even terrorist activities.
You can help protect yourself by heeding this advice. If you’re interested, verify the business information on a third-party site – no matter how legitimate the website they give you looks. Get a phone number to call and speak to someone.
Too often, people suspect that what they’re doing isn’t legitimate, but they think as long as they don’t ask too many questions, they can’t be held criminally responsible. As noted, that’s not true. If you’re facing criminal charges for being a money mule, get experienced legal guidance as soon as possible to protect your rights and your future.