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According to the United States Postal Inspection Service, a “money mule” is someone who receives and transfers money obtained from victims of fraud. In some cases, the “mule” knows he or is she participating in criminal pursuits but others fail to realize the activity is benefiting fraudsters. Learn how to recognize a money mule scam.

How Money Mules Are Recruited

Transferring money on behalf of others could lead to serious consequences for you.

Money mule victims can be enlisted in several ways, including:

  1. Work-from-Home Scams: A job posting offers money for reshipping packages, buying gift cards or transferring money from your own home.
  2. Confidence Scams: A person or business you do not recognize offers commission for transferring money to them.
  3. Lottery Scams: A person reaches out saying you have won a prize but need to transfer or accept money in order to receive it.
  4. Romance Scams: Someone you’ve met online pretends to be romantically interested in you, then asks for money or gifts to be transferred.

Protect Yourself from Falling Victim

Before accepting a job offer that seems too good to be true, confirm the opportunity is legitimate. Rather than engaging in financial transactions with a stranger or taking on a job that promises easy money to send packages, do your research. Look up any company information online, as well as the name of the person who contacted you. For additional support, you can also call your local Better Business Bureau chapter to determine the legitimacy of an unfamiliar business.

Never provide someone else your personal information, such as your Social Security or bank account numbers. If you suspect a money mule scam, report it to the United States Postal Inspection Service or Federal Trade Commission right away. Also, report any suspicious email, job posting or social media scams to the platform provider.

For more information on this scam and how to protect yourself, please click here.