The Australian Federal Police today launched the Don’t be a Mule campaign. This awareness campaign is particularly relevant this time of year when the opportunity to earn some extra cash can be tempting.
What’s a money mule?
A money mule is someone who is recruited by criminals to launder illegally obtained funds. If someone asks you to move money through your bank account in exchange for cash, they are asking you to be a money mule.
This is money laundering, it’s illegal, and the consequences can be severe for you.
How are money mules recruited?
Criminals will attempt to recruit money mules in the following ways:
- Direct contact in person.
- Contact via email.
- Social media (e.g. Facebook or Instagram).
- Instant messaging (e.g. WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram).
- Online pop-up ads (e.g. job ads or classifieds).
You should be suspicious of any opportunity to make easy money, such as:
- A stranger approaches you in person and asks you to move money through your bank account in return for a profit.
- The opportunity to make easy money is presented as risk-free.
- You are told what to do and how much others have already earned for doing the same.
- For different reasons, money launderers will always ask for your bank account number or ask you to open a new one.
Watch out for these warning signs
- Unsolicited contact promising easy money.
- Job adverts from overseas companies seeking 'local / national agents' to act on their behalf.
- Poor sentence structure with grammar mistakes.
- They will often copy a genuine company’s website and use a similar URL to make the scam seem authentic.
- The sender's email address is likely to use a free web-based service (Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, etc.) that does not match the company's name.
- No education or experience requirements listed.
- All interactions and transactions regarding the job will be done online.
- The specifics of the job always include using your bank account to move money.
As with most scams, if it looks too good to be true – it probably is.
Remember these prevention tips
- Research any company or person that offers you a job.
- Never provide your bank account to anyone unless you know or trust them.
- Decline any easy money offers.
It’s not worth it:
- You could be physically attacked or threatened with violence if you don’t continue to help the criminals.
- You will be helping criminals to anonymously move illegal funds around the world.
- You may not be able to receive social benefits in the future.
- You could face a prison sentence, a fine or community service.
- Your bank account can be closed and you won’t be able to open a new one.
Don’t help criminals:
- Never open a bank account at the request of somebody you just met.
- Never provide your bank account details to anyone unless you know and trust them.
- Be cautious of unsolicited offers of easy money.
What to do if you think you may be involved in a money muling scheme?
- Stop transferring money immediately.
- Notify your bank and alert the police.
If you believe someone has gained access to your personal information, even if the scam appears unrelated to your finances, you should contact your bank immediately. A timely response can be critical in giving you the best chance to stem any loss.
- If you have concerns about your G&C Mutual Bank account contact us on 1300 364 400
- If you have been the victim of identity theft, IDCARE can guide you through the steps to reclaim your identity. Contact them on 1300 432 273 or via https://www.idcare.org
- You can find out how scams work, how to protect yourself, what to do if you’ve been scammed or report a scam to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) via the Scamwatch website www.scamwatch.gov.au