Money Mule Scammers Target Online Jobseekers

There are a lot of work from home jobs available online. With the right skills, you can snag the dream job that allows you to work at the convenience of your home. However, unscrupulous people are using this great platform for their illegal business. A seemingly innocent job could just be a guise in an illegal act and turn you into a Money Mule.

According to the United States Homeland Security Computer Readiness Team, “Money mules are people who are used to transport and launder stolen money or some kind of merchandise. Criminals may even recruit money mules to use stolen credit card information. Individuals being used as money mules may be willing participants; however, many money mules are not aware that they are being used to commit fraud. The individuals being used as money mules are not the only victims; the larger scheme is designed to extract money from an organization or from other people.” Recently two bail bonds companies, one company specializing in surety bonds and another in regular bail bonds came to use asking to improve their online security systems.

Let us hear Mark’s story. He was looking for a job online when he stumbled upon a job opening that doesn’t require too much. He got hired but he felt suspicious about the fund transfer he has to make. He immediately stopped dealing with the illegal employers and reported the matter to the authorities. Good thing, he did not fall into the trap. He is now working for a carpet cleaning company here in Utah and doing pretty well.

It was great that Mark was able to escape the trap. For new jobseekers, it will be helpful to know the modus operandi to protect you from falling to their traps. Here is how it works.

  1. The company will ask for the employee’s personal information, such as their social security and bank account numbers, after the prospective employee signs in for the job.
  1. The company or the employee will open an account that they can use for financial transaction such as fund transfers.
  1. The employee will receive funds or merchandise from the company. The employee, in turn, will be asked by the employer to send a portion of the money or send the merchandise to someone else.

The criminal will usually use the money mule once to avoid suspicion of the authorities. However, it doesn’t stop them from recruiting new people to the scheme, and the vicious cycle continues.

The money mule will face severe consequences for being part of the scheme. The following are the potential punishments that the money mule can face.

  • Frozen bank accounts – the law enforcement officials may have your bank account inaccessible during investigation. This may affect your financial and credit standing.
  • Prosecution – you may be prosecuted and held responsible to repay the losses suffered by the victims.
  • Compromised personal information – The criminals may use the information derived from you in their illegal transactions.

Now that you know this scheme, it is time to learn how to protect yourself from being victimized by these criminals.

Be Wary 

As the age old cliché goes, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Your instinct will tell you that there is something off in the situation. You need to listen to it. Here are the signs that the person you are dealing with is a possible scammer.

  • The offer promises easy earnings with less or no effort at all.
  • The job will require you to transfer funds or goods.
  • The job posting will not say about the job nor require any credentials.
  • The company is located outside the country and uses free webmail services instead of organization based domain.

Do your research

It is exciting to receive a job offer from a company after applying for so many job postings. Don’t just grab it. Conduct a research about the company and find reviews. It is also suspicious if a company offering online jobs doesn’t have any online presence. You may visit the Better Business Bureau website to find businesses, brands and charities that you can trust.