Under federal law, money laundering is a serious crime. Unfortunately, laundering can involve unknowing participants.
According to the FBI, a money mule is a person who transfers illegal money on another person’s behalf. While it may be easy to say that you would never become a money mule, some criminals scam innocent people into aiding them in moving money.
Reading the signs
Criminals look for students, single persons, and those who need a job. Some work-from-home opportunities wind up money mule schemes. If you receive an unsolicited email promising you money for little to no effort, you should stay wary of it.
When scammers use job opportunities, they may ask you to open a bank account in the company’s name or ask you to receive funds in your bank account to transfer them later. You will find very few specific job descriptions about your duty. It may feel like you work for some money service business.
To protect yourself, never accept a job that you do not research. The internet makes it easy to check for the legitimacy of a company. Another way criminals target unsuspecting people is through dating. You may meet someone on a dating website and suddenly, he or she wants you to open a new account or share your finances. You should never trust someone you do not know extremely well with your financial information.
If you meet someone on the internet and do not allow you to meet him or her in person, this is a red flag, especially if the person asks for money.