Europol warns us not top be suckered into serving as "money mules"

It's one thing to pull off a successful fraud online, it's another thing to get away with it -- when crooks order merchandise with stolen credit cards or make withdrawals with stolen bank details, they risk leaving a trail back to themselves.

That's where money mules kick in: "mostly penniless students, unemployed guys wrecked by austerity, illegal emigrants and a few iron-board stay-at-home moms with imaginary businesses" (per Bruce Sterling), who think they're involved in a legit work-at-home business that has them serving as cut-outs and laundries for stolen goods and cash. They get stolen funds transfered to their accounts, take a "commission," then transfer them on to someone else. A few hops later, the money lands in the fraudster's account, onion-routed through a bunch of stooges.

Europol can't catch the crooks, so they're targeting the stooges, in a crackdown that includes 159 arrests last week, and a spooky social media campaign with its own hashtag: #DontBeaMule.

* 159 arrested, 409 suspects interviewed by law enforcement, 766 money mules and 59 money mule organisers identified as a result of the European Money Mule Action ‘EMMA3’, a global law enforcement action week against money muling (20 to 24 November)

* Money mules are individuals recruited by criminal organisations as money laundering intermediaries to receive and transfer illegally obtained funds between bank accounts and/or countriesp>* EMMA3 saw 26 countries participating, as well as Europol, Eurojust, the European Banking Federation (EBF), 257 banks and private-sector partners

* The joint money muling awareness campaign #DontBeaMule kicks off today to alert the public to this crime

159 ARRESTS AND 766 MONEY MULES IDENTIFIED IN GLOBAL ACTION WEEK AGAINST MONEY MULING [Europol]

(via Beyond the Beyond)

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