LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — State officials are warning to make sure they don’t get wrapped up in a scam as a money mule — someone who receives and moves money that scammers stole through fraud.
“Unfortunately, unsuspecting people may not realize an opportunity presented to them is really a scam to act as a money mule for bad actors,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said, urging people to protect themselves.
The warning is a part of a larger consumer alert from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Money Mule Awareness Campaign.
The state says warning signs of a money mule scam include:
- Unsolicited emails or contacts on social media promising “easy” money.
- Communications from a prospective “employer” through a web-based internet service, such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, or “throwaway” email services, rather than a company’s website.
- Requests to open a personal bank account to receive and transfer money.
- Offers to keep a portion of the funds transferred.
- Work-at-home job offers that are limited to moving money.
- An online contact asks you to receive and forward funds to unknown individuals.
Crooks may also use money mules to move ill-gotten unemployment benefits obtained through identity fraud.
“This web of fraud robs the unemployment insurance system of dollars for deserving, hard-working Michiganders who have lost their jobs and also increases costs for businesses. If you’re asked to handle money by someone you don’t know, alert law enforcement immediately,” Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Julia Dale said in a statement.
If you think you have been targeted by a similar scam, you can file a complaint online at the Attorney General’s website or by calling 877.765.8388.