Police warning over ‘money mules’

In a new twist on scam warnings police are warning the public about becoming a ‘money mule’ for criminals.

A money mule, they explained, is a person who receives and transfers money, illegally, on behalf of others.

In a post on the Craigavon PSNI Facebook page a spokesman said: “Usually the money has been generated as a result of a scam or fraud and the money placed in the money mule’s account. It is then laundered through their account, withdrawn/changed to foreign currency/crypto currency or vouchers then passed back to the criminal.

”Obviously a percentage is kept by the mule as a ‘fee’.”

The police explained that ‘money mules’ are recruited by a number of methods:

- spam email

- adverts on genuine recruitment websites

- instant messages

- ads

They said: “Positions on offer can be ‘UK Representative’, ‘Shipping Manager’ or ‘Sales Manager’. They offer you the chance to earn some easy money for a few hours work each week, usually just requiring that you have access to the Internet.

“Acting as a money mule is not an easy way to make money.

“It is a crime.

“And allowing your account details to be used for fraud could lead to you serving a custodial sentence. It can lead to you losing your bank account and then might find it very difficult to open a new one.

“This can cause difficulties in the future ranging from problems receiving genuine payments e.g. salaries, benefits and pensions, to issues with obtaining a mobile phone contract.

“Please contact your bank immediately if you do receive money into their account from an unknown or untrusted source.

“If you have any information on money mules contact Police on 101 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and keep an eye on ScamwiseNI page on Facebook to keep up to date with current fraud trends.”