The internet can be a magical world of solutions and opportunities. Whether it is buying groceries or making a doctor’s appointment, one can accomplish most tasks online. However, the Internet must be treated with caution. It is a place rife with swindles, and one could fall prey to frauds if not careful enough.
Internet fraudsters and hackers look to con people with seemingly attractive propositions. Their traps are so lucrative that victims don’t realise what they are getting into until the damage is done. The latest fraud to watch out for is money mules. Let us know more about them in detail.
What are money mules?
Money mules are innocent people who are lured into laundering stolen or illegal money through their bank accounts. These are people who come online to look for jobs and get duped into earning easy commissions.
Fraudsters trick him or her into receiving money into their bank accounts and eventually transfer it into another mule’s account. This is like a chain that ends in the fraudster’s bank account.
When such fraud is reported, money mules become obvious targets and are caught in police investigations.
What are the consequences of money-muling?
• An investigation may result in frozen bank accounts. The victim is unable to access his money until his name is cleared.
• The victim may also get caught up in prosecutions and trials.
• Several times, it is seen that innocent victims have to pay for the losses borne by other people.
• Personal information and identity may be used for illegal practices.
How can you protect yourself from money mules?
• Avoid e-mails or websites that offer overseas jobs with the condition of seeking your bank account details. If you are keen on such prospects, it is a good idea to verify the employer’s details before you share any personal information. Here are the warning signs you may want to watch out for.
• The job requires you to transfer money or goods.
• The job description does not contain any specific tasks or educational requirements.
• The job is located in a foreign country and requires you to do all your interactions online.
• The job promises to pay high income for fewer efforts.
• The email doesn’t seem professional and is poorly-worded.
• The sender’s email ID does not contain any organisation’s name.
• It is advisable to stay away from anyone offering to pay commissions or fees just to receive money in your bank account. You may want to check the veracity of a prospective employer in your pursuit for a job.
• It is also a good idea to monitor your monthly transactions. You may want to report any suspicious withdrawals or deposits to your bank and the police immediately.
• Most banks and wallets provide secure transaction gateways. It is recommended to use them to protect yourself from identity thefts.
The Internet has thrown up a wide range of opportunities as well as challenges, the most recent being money muling. To protect yourself, look out for any suspicious job offers that seem too good to be true.