How you risk becoming a money mule

A 'money mule' is a private individual who receives money in their bank account from a fraudster, then the money is taken out in cash and forwarded on. Often the person is completely unaware that this is a money-laundering crime. Europol has issued a warning for this increasingly common crime.

Unintentional money-laundering crimes usually happen like this: a fraudster first manages to get the log-in information to someone else's bank account (for example, through phishing). The fraudster logs into the bank account and transfers the money to another account.

Warning signs

Farther down the page, you can read more about how someone can become a money mule, but be particularly observant if you are offered a job where:

An international company claims to be looking for local or national agents or representatives.The work tasks for a certain job are not described in detail; instead the focus is on your bank account being used for a specific purpose.All work tasks for the offered job are handled online on a computer.

A money mule provides a bank account

When a fraudster manages to get the log-in information to someone else's bank account, the fraudster hires a money mule. This person provides their bank account without knowing that it is illegal and receives the money. Then they take the money out in cash and send it back to the fraudster. This way the fraudsters do not risk getting caught because they never expose their own bank accounts.

Criminals often attract newcomers with job offers

Criminals use different methods to recruit money mules. These methods can involve job offers that may seem serious or being contacted by e-mail or on social media. According to a warning from Europol, newcomers to a country are a target group who often receive offers to become money mules. But they do not call it that. Instead you can be lured with job titles such as transaction manager and receive salary through commissions. For example, you can be offered to keep 10 per cent of the sum you have deposited into your account before you send the money on.

How can you protect yourself?

Never give out details about your bank accounts or other personal information if you do not know and trust the person asking for the information.

If you suspect that you have become involved in a money-laundering crime, immediately stop all activities that you believe are suspicious; for example, transferring money between different accounts. Instead contact your bank or the police.

Konsumenternas Bank- och finansbyrå