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Don't Get Saddled with a Money Mule Scam

Have you ever seen those tempting “work-from-home" advertisements online with interesting titles like Mystery Shopper or Payment Processing agent? They promise easy money for little work, typically involving receiving or sending money or goods. 

Don't be fooled! This is most likely a Money Mule scam.

“Easy money" online job postings are just one way that fraudsters try to snare the unwitting and sometimes willing alike into helping them perpetuate fraud.

What is a Money Mule?*

​A “money mule" is anyone who receives and moves money that came from victims of fraud. Some money mules know they are assisting with criminal activity, but others are unaware that their actions are helping fraudsters.

If someone you don't know sends you money and asks you to forward or transfer the money, you could be fueling fraud by serving as a money mule. As mentioned, money mules may be recruited through an online job ad or social media post that promises fast, easy cash for little effort. Or money mules may agree to help a love interest they've met online or over the phone receive and send money ─ also known as a romance scam.

Follow these tips to avoid becoming a money mule:

  • Don't agree to receive or send money or packages for people you don't know or haven't met in person.
  • Don't take a job that promises easy money – especially if it involves sending or receiving money or packages.
  • Don't open a bank account or cryptocurrency account at someone else's direction.
  • Don't send money to an online love interest, even if they send you money first.
  • Don't pay to collect a prize or send someone money out of your “winnings."

What to do if you think you may be involved in a money mule scam

Transferring money on behalf of others not only benefits criminals, but it could also lead to serious consequences for you – like losing money or even being put in jail. If you think you've been involved in a money mule scam, here's what to do:

  1. Stop communicating with anyone who asked you to move money or property .
  2. Tell your financial institution and consider changing accounts.
  3. Report the scam to local law enforcement and at

Money mules help international crime networks steal money from businesses and people just like you. It is important to stay alert and watch out for the red flags of a money mule scam.

For more information, please visit the Department of Justice's Money Mule Initiative web page. You can also stay current on the best ways to protect you and your family from fraudsters and the latest scams by visiting our WPCU Stop Fraud page.

*Source: Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). What is a Money Mule, Updated Novem​​​ber 29, 2021