AG Nessel, UIA Share Money Mule Warning Signs

Agency: Attorney General

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:  

  • 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 "throw away" email services.  
  • 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.    

Consumers should never agree to:   

  • A work-at-home offer that asks you to transfer money.  
  • Open a bank account or move money at someone else's request.   
  • Give someone access to your bank account or debit card.  
  • Allow money from people you don't know to be deposited into your account.   
  • A job offer that promises easy money and involves sending or receiving money or packages.   
  • Receive or forward packages, or to purchase gift cards or virtual currency at someone's direction. 
  • Provide a username and password for unemployment or other benefits accounts. 

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.   

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