Photo by Tezos on Unsplash

Are You Unknowingly Helping A Criminal Launder Money?

January 18, 2022

By a Biometrica staffer

An overwhelming majority (over 90%) of all money mule transactions identified through the European Money Mule Actions are linked to cybercrime, the Europol says. What does that mean? It means a large number of law-abiding citizens in the region could have easily become money mules and laundered cash for criminal enterprises or groups without realizing it. How? Per the Europol, that’s because the illegal money often comes from criminal activities like phishing, malware attacks, online auction fraud, e-commerce fraud, business e-mail compromise (BEC) and CEO fraud, romance scams, holiday fraud (booking fraud) and many others.

In a previous piece, we examined the basics of money muling: what it is, a glimpse of the ways in which criminals wield it, and the different kinds of money mules. Now, we’re going to look at some known methods that criminals use to lure common people into their scams; and tell you what signs to watch out for and how to protect yourself from becoming a money mule.

While criminals tend to constantly evolve their modi operandi as times change, there are a few commonly used methods that they follow, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Europol. Here’s what both agencies say on this subject:

Fake Job Offers

Dating, Social Media & Instant Cash

Video Source: FBI’s YouTube account

Protecting Yourself From These Scams

What can you do to add a layer of protection to your online activities and safeguard yourself from unwittingly laundering money for criminals? Here’s what Europol and FBI say:

Finally, what can you do if you think you’ve already become a victim of such a scam?

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We’re crime fighters and technologists, who focus on public safety, workplace safety, customer safety, child protection, and human trafficking.