Money mule awareness

Increasingly, fraud networks are recruiting unsuspecting victims to receive and transfer money from other victims. Being used as a money mule victimizes you, victimizes others and can get you tied into a money laundering scheme and could result in facing criminal charges.

  • Transcript

    (Image of mule with bags of money.)

    (Text on screen)

    Are you unknowingly being turned into a money mule?

    (Cellphone rings and the mule comes into the room to answer it and hears a message, hazard sign appears on phone.)

    (Text on screen)

    "You've been hired as a financial officer. We need you to e-transfer $50,000 to an off-shore account."

    (Cellphone buzzes and gets a text message with a hazard sign and confetti appearing around it.)

    (Text on screen)

    "You won $1,000! Pay your advanced fees before getting the funds."

    (Cellphone buzzes and gets a text message with a hazard sign and hearts appear around it.)

    (Text on image)

    "I love you. Can you collect money from my clients and send it to this bank account?"

    (Mule is sitting at a desk on the computer.)

    (Text on image)

    Don't become a money mule! Protect yourself today.

    (QR Code on image)

    (Text on screen)

    Royal Canadian Mounted Police / Gendarmerie royale du Canada signature

    © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada as represented by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police 2022.

    (Text on screen)

    Canada Wordmark

    En français :

What is a money mule?

A money mule is a person who's recruited by fraudsters to serve as a middle person to transfer stolen money. This is process is known as money laundering, which is a crime. The money mule may, or may, not know that they're a pawn in a larger network. When a mule moves money, it becomes harder to identify the fraudsters from the victims.

They often transfer the money using:

Typically, mules receive a small percentage of the money transferred. Fraudsters may disguise these funds as:

Examples of money mule traps

The following scams are examples of how fraudsters can trick victims into becoming a money mule:

Job scam example
  • Victims are approached by suspects, most commonly after posting their resume on a website
  • The suspect may offer a position such as "payment processor", "financial officer" and "administrative assistant" among others
  • Suspects will advise that your job duties include accepting payments from clients into your personal account, and then transferring it to an account in a different country
  • In most cases, victims will then be asked to keep a small percentage of the payment and send the remaining amount via virtual currencies
Prize scam example
  • Victims are told that they are the winner of a lottery or sweepstakes
  • They are then sent "advance payments" on their winnings, then asked to forward it to a "financial office" to cover fees or taxes
Romance scam example
  • A victim meets someone online and begins a relationship with them
  • The suspect will gain the trust and affection of the victims over a lengthy period of time (months)
  • The suspect will convince the victims they are an investor, engineer, in the military or someone prestigious
  • Often, the suspect will provide victims with a cell phone to communicate with them
  • The suspect will request that the victims open a bank account and to send the suspect a bank card

In these examples, the payments received are often from other victims and by transferring these funds to criminals you become a money mule.

How to protect yourself

Date modified: