November 9, 2021
Media contact: Lynsey Mukomel 517-599-2746
Public inquiries: 517-335-7622
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is issuing a consumer alert as part of the Department of Justice's Money Mule Awareness Campaign, which runs through the end of November.
Money mules are people who, at someone else's direction, receive and move money obtained from victims of fraud. Some money mules know that they have been recruited to assist criminal activity. Knowingly moving money for illegal activities can lead to serious consequences-including criminal charges. Other money mules, however, move money at someone else's direction, not knowing that their activity benefits fraudsters. These individuals, even if they don't realize it, enable fraudsters to harm others.
"Unfortunately, unsuspecting people may not realize an opportunity presented to them is really a scam to act as a money mule for bad actors," Nessel said. "I urge consumers to read this alert to ensure they're prepared against this type of fraud."
Nessel's Money Mule Scams Consumer Alert shares important information on how to avoid falling victim. Fake check scams are an example of how criminals use a money mule to commit fraud. Another example is criminals asking a money mule to open a bank account to receive illegally obtained unemployment benefits and then transfer the money elsewhere or withdraw it.
"Criminals steal identities to fraudulently file for unemployment benefits, then recruit mules to launder the money," Director of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Julia Dale said. "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."
Money mule warning signs include:
Consumers should never agree to:
The Department of Attorney General provides a library of resources for consumers to review anytime on a variety of topics.
Your connection to consumer protection is just a click or phone call away. Consumer complaints can be filed online at the Attorney General's website, or by calling 877-765-8388.