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01 Jun 2018
Europol intensifies hunt for money mules

Europol is stepping up efforts to track down money mules. The objective is to increase the likelihood of these mules being detected by the police. To this end, Europol is working with various international police forces in an operation called European Money Mule Action.

More than 90% of all fraudulent transactions are linked to cybercrime, Europol says. The proceeds of illegal practices such as phishing and CEO fraud and many others are laundered by people known as money mules, dupes who allow their bank accounts to be used by these fraudsters.

During the past two years, the European Money Mule Action weeks have resulting in 400 arrests of suspected money mules. The European Banking Federation is also taking part in the initiative.

Easy money
Europol warns that criminals lure people with the offer of a seemingly attractive job. It’s often flexible work that can be done from home. The ‘only’ thing that people need to do is open a bank account and transfer anonymous payments to other accounts. The work may seem easy and attractive, but the consequences for money mules can be quite severe.

First of all, money mules increasingly run the risk of getting caught. If found guilty, they will face serious punishment as well as severe financial implications.

Banks, for instance, could restrict their future use of financial services and share details of the activity with other banks, meaning these money mules may no longer be able to open a bank account or take out a mortgage.

The mules may also be ordered to compensate victims for the damage incurred by this criminal offence.