Brought to you by The AML Pirate (2023) Of Money Mule recruitment let’s first examine these are the people who are not aware they are participating in money laundering unwitting money mules.
Opportunistic approach to social crises such as unemployment fake job ads asked to open a bank account in your name or transfer funds to company accounts false sense of urgency typically targeting: STUDENTS easy job / easy money an online romance develops, usually with someone they have not met in person romance scam they refer to some sort of emergency and ask from the victim to transfer money to them false sense of urgency typically targeting: recent widowers, elders, solitary people but you need to pay fees and/or taxes Lottery scam.
Once paid, additional fees may be requested Congratulations: you have won a lottery (that you never participated in) typically targeting: elders Request for secrecy (don’t tell anyone so you can surprise them) People who are aware and willingly participate in the scheme
Complicit money mules May be incentivized to participate via commission Participant Profile
May turn a blind eye when they realize what is going on
Complicit money mules may not be aware from the beginning
May be not fully realize the risks Europol (2021): more than 90% of money mule transactions identified through the European Money Mule Actions are linked to cybercrime.
The illegal money often comes from criminal activities like phishing, malware attacks, online auction fraud, e-commerce fraud, business e-mail compromise (BEC) and CEO fraud, romance scams, holiday fraud (booking fraud) and others.
Newcomers to the country unemployed, students, financially vulnerable groups men (age group: 18-34) more likely to be targeted than women criminals may attempt to open a mule account using a synthetic identity (stolen personal profiles of real people or some blend of real and fabricated information).
Synthetic ids mule account detection mule accounts are hard to detect they usually pass CDD requirements the suspicious behavior blends in well with the regular account activity, making it hard to detect use of multiple accounts allows for smaller amounts to be moved can you pin the tail?
This is because of the use of multiple sources, older and newer ones you may have noticed some contradictions in the info presented here. evolving mules during covid, we saw increased online activity, in most aspects of life similarly, cyber criminal activity increased greatly and substituted other forms of offline scams the cyber dimension seems to be heavily preferred for the recruitment of money mules today evolving mules thus, the demographics have shifted to the most regular internet users (the younger generations) however, everyone is potentially at risk sources:
April 21, 2023 Published by The AML Project (2023). (Download PDF)