Money Mule Scams

Money Mule Scams

June 28, 2024

Sources: Federal Trade Commission, US Postal Inspection Service, ABA Foundation, Department of Justice, and US Secret Service Cybercrime Investigations

“Money mule” may not be a term that you are familiar with, but it is very likely that you or someone you know has had experience with a money mule scam. Money mules are people who receive and transfer money obtained from victims of fraud. If you’ve been asked to be a money mover, you could be harming others and opening yourself up to serious consequences.


  • Being offered a work-from-home job that promises easy money with little to no effort. This “job” includes opening bank accounts in your name and then transferring funds by way of a wire transfer, ACH, mail or money service business such as Western Union or MoneyGram. You are also told to keep a portion of the money you transfer.
  • Meeting an individual on an online dating or social media platform who claims to be a member of the US military stationed overseas, living in another state, or living abroad due to personal reasons or visa issues. This person claims to be unable to open a bank account and asks to use yours to transfer money.
  • You are informed that you need to transfer or accept money in order to collect a prize or winnings.


  • Communications are poorly written and include spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. 
  • You may buy a plane ticket for your romantic partner or make arrangements to meet them in person, but they don’t arrive because immigration or personal issues prevent them from traveling.


  • Never share your bank account or other personal information with others.
  • Never open a joint account with anyone other than close family.
  • Never respond to an offer to earn quick and easy money.
  • Never agree to receive and send money on behalf of others.
  • Conduct online searches to verify any questionable information provided to you.
  • As your employer if you can see a copy of the license/permit to conduct business in your county and state.
  • Never pay to collect a prize or move any money out of your winnings.
  • Never send money to an online love interest, even if they send you a check first.

REMEMBER! Money mules may face consequences from being a part of the criminal money laundering conspiracy. These consequences can include:

  • Prosecution and jail time.
  • Personal identity theft.
  • Liability to repay the money lost by victims.
  • Negative credit ratings.
  • Inability to open bank accounts in the future.

If you suspect you were approached to become a money mule, or you have unknowingly become a money mule, contact law enforcement to report your suspicions. It is never too late to stop helping criminals hide proceeds from their crimes.


Bank of the Valley is a Member FDIC