Don’t be a Mule

Don’t be a Mule: A Brief Story

Money Mules

are people who serve as intermediaries for criminals and criminal organisations. Whether or not they are aware of it, they transport fraudulently gained money to fraudsters. The use of intermedi aries makes it difficult to figure out the identity of the fraudster. – Safe Internet Banking

I am the administrator of a Business/Employment group on Facebook. About four months ago I had what appeared to be a legitimate request to join our group. I try to protect my group members by making sure new members are within a certain radius of our city. The new member was slightly outside of our city, but I assumed they were looking to commute. Within 24 hours of adding her to the group she posted a “Help Wanted Ad.”

fbscam

Note: In your spare time you can search Facebook for the following text and see what pops up:

I am looking for someone who can handle my Personal and Business errands at his/her spare time…

Being a Help Wanted group there were many applicants that applied.

I received the following message from one of our members:

Hi, yes that lady put an ad and she is a scam artist saying she will pay $300 a week and asking people to do her errands open packages and forward them to her I blocked her and that message needs to be deleted and she needs to be removed I’m sorry I fell for her crap

Facebook Scam Message

I decided to apply for the same job and received the following message from her:

Hello, I’m looking for someone who can handle my Personal & Business errands at his/her spare time. Work at your own convenience or from home. Someone reliable who can offer me these services: -Mail services, -Receive my mails and drop them off at the Post, -Shop for Gifts Bill payment ( pay my bills on my behalf) Pay: $300 a week

 

I then asked her if it was a 1099 (contract) position. The reply was:

Under the table

I already knew it was a scam but some warning signs – under the table. You’re going to be handling her finances, but she wants to pay you under the table. I then asked if it was possible to get a 1099 for my probation officer (yeah just goofing off)

She said

Okay

I then asked to setup an interview. If I needed to do a phone interview, did they need a resume, etc. Never heard from her again.

 

Schemes May Seem Like Legitimate Opportunities

The most common money mule solicitations are disguised as “work from home” opportunities. These advertisements often target unsuspecting people who are interested in the convenience and flexibility of these types of jobs. Because there are companies that legitimately offer opportunities to work from home, users may not recognize malicious offers. Criminals often try to make the offer seem as legitimate as possible and may use the following approaches: carefully crafting the wording so that an email does not appear to be spam and is not caught by spam filters linking to fake but professionally designed websites that appear to belong to recognized companies or that promote a company that does not even exist posting some of these jobs on legitimate websites, including websites specifically for job seekers. – Understanding and Protecting Yourself Against Money Mule Schemes

Avoid becoming a Victim

  • Warning Signs

The following characteristics do not necessarily indicate a money mule solicitation, but they are commonly used in those solicitations . The position involves transferring money or goods. The specific job duties are not described. The company is located in another country. The position does not list education or experience requirements. All interactions and transactions will be done online. The offer promises significant earning potential for little effort. The writing is awkward and includes poor sentence structure. The email address associated with the offer uses a web-based service (Gmail, Yahoo!, Windows Live Hotmail, etc.) instead of an organization-based domain. – U.S. Cert

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