Scam Report: Avoiding a money mule scam

December 3, 2021

by Spero Financial

The Federal Trade Commission is alerting consumers on "scammers looking for people to help them move stolen money."

Excerpt from the Federal Trade Commission article "Avoiding a money mule scam."

Scammers are looking for people to help them move stolen money. They visit online dating, job search, and social media sites, create fake stories, and make up reasons to send you money, usually by check or Bitcoin. Then they tell you to send that money to someone else by using gift cards or wire transfers. But they never say the money is stolen, the stories are lies, or — if you sent the money — you might be acting as what law enforcement calls a money mule.

How can you avoid a money mule scam?

  • Don’t forward money for an online romantic interest who sends you money. That’s always a scam, and a way to get you to move stolen money.
  • Don’t accept a job that asks you to transfer money or packages — even if they tell you to send money to a “client” or “supplier.” You may be helping a scammer move stolen money or gift cards.
  • Don’t accept a grant or prize award and forward some of the money. That’s another way to get you to move stolen money.

If you think you might be involved in this scam, stop the payment transaction and stop communicating with the person. Tell your bank, the wire transfer service, or any gift card companies right away. If a scammer has your bank account information, close your account immediately. Then tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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