the term “Money Mule”. This scam seemed to be running in South Africa,
and we have found an article warning South Africans about this here.
Basically, a “Money Mule” is someone who has been asked to receive
“illegal funds” on behalf of the scammers. The Money Mule will then be
asked to remit the money to other bank accounts that may belong to the
“Money Mule” by itself should be called a job scam, get-rich-quick
scam, or work-at-home scam, where they are promised a high-paying,
high-commission job with very few hours. On the other hand, the “Money
Mule” is used as a money laundering (method of concealing the source of
illegally gotten money) tool for other scams, including 419 scams.
As a 419 scam
victim, where would you send your money to? The scammer? No, probably
someone who has been tricked to be the “Money Mule”. The Money Mule is
not supposed to know that he has been used in money laundering. If he knows he is involved in the illegal money scam, he is called an “Accomplice”.
Using 419 scams as an example, say we have 3 parties:
(B) Money Mule
1) Scammer scams victim (email, phones, mails).
2) Victim falls for trap
3) Scammer ask victim to send money to Money Mule’s account
4) Money Mule instructed by Scammer to quickly resend the money to other (Scammer) accounts.
In the process, it may be difficult to track and match the source and
final destination of the money, which is an account that may appear to
receive money from another “legal source”. The only thing left that
appears “illegal” in the whole chain, is probably the payment from the
scam victim to the Money Mule’s account.
So who does the police look for?
In this bigger picture, we can see that a victim of a scam may not
necessarily “lose money”. You can be scammed and recruited by others to
conduct their illegal business. The scammers get their money, get away,
and you might end up going to jail for being an innocent “helper”.
You can find out some information regarding Money Mules here.