Don’t Fall for Money Mule Scams!

What is a money mule scam?

A “money mule” scam is when someone is recruited to move money for a scammer by transferring stolen funds from one account to another. Usually the “mule” has no idea he or she is aiding in theft and simply thinks they’ve fallen on an online opportunity to make some extra money.

Here’s how it works:

  • You’re contacted by someone claiming you’ve won something that requires you to send money to claim your prize (other potential scenarios: an online love interest sends you money and asks you for money in return; a “work from home” job opportunity that involves paying vendors with money transferred to you from your new employer.”)
  • You’re given money in some way (usually via check that may clear immediately but later puts you on the hook for insufficient funds).
  • You’re asked to transfer some or all of the money to someone else (via wire transfer or gift cards).

How can you identify a money mule scam?

  • Anytime someone online asks you to transfer money, it’s a scam…even if this person sends money to you first! This tactic is often used to build trust.
  • Anytime you’re personal banking information is involved in any kind of online opportunity.
  • Anytime you’re asked to move money as a test or a pre-cursor to a bigger, more promising financial transaction.

What to do you if you think you’re being targeted by a money mule scam?

The reasons that online scammers use for sending money or transferring funds can be convincing, often sentimental or flattering. They can often seem too good to be true (which they are) and put the victims of their scam on the hook for whatever financial transactions they took part in.

If you suspect that you’ve either fallen for a Money Mule scam or if you have identified someone’s attempts at targeting you for one, submit your issue at the Federal Trade Commission’s online complaint portal (ftc.gov/complaint) or Contact Us at First Independent Bank.

The more we share the responsibility of holding these scammers responsible, the more we can protect everyone from their efforts.

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