What do social media, unemployment, our aging population and the search for a soulmate have in common? They are all opportunities for fraudsters to recruit Money Mules, 2,300 of which US federal agencies caught during their annual Money Mule Initiative according to a DOJ press release on December 2.
Money Mules are used, often unknowingly, to receive and move money obtained from victims of crime or fraud at someone else’s direction. Social media is the go-to vehicle used to recruit Money Mules through posting job ads, targeted media content or striking up an online romance. The mules move illegal proceeds either physically in packages, or more often by using their accounts to wire funds, purchase gift cards or transfer virtual currency. The best way to prevent this – and avoid potential AML liability – is to Know Your Customer and identify out-of-profile transactions.