FBI says 'money mule' schemes may be on the rise amid unemployment

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston FBI released a warning for those who are searching for convenient jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the bureau, they believe criminals may be posing as employers to get new hires to perform illegal activities such as money laundering.

They said 'money mules' have been created, allowing criminals to have layers of distance between them and law enforcement, which often times makes it difficult to track down the source of the criminal enterprise.

As a result, the FBI recently created the campaign 'Don't Be a Money Mule' in hopes to bring awareness to the general public and those who may fall victim to the crime.

The agency said the most susceptible group to become a 'money mule' are those who have likely been laid-off during the pandemic and are looking for easy, at-home jobs.

Additionally, they said the elderly, students or those on dating websites can also be a large targeted demographic.

Whether you're being used as a money mule knowingly or unknowingly, the FBI said it's still illegal and punishable. Convicted suspects may also be held responsible for repaying money lost by victims.

Criminals may ask you to use your personal bank account to perform business transfers, or to even open a new account after you're hired.

The FBI says to stop contacting those individuals as soon as you suspect something and contact law enforcement.

Click here for a full breakdown on 'money mules'.
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