Between September and November this year 228 people were arrested and 3,833 “money mules” were identified in a mega-operation of the European Police Service (Europol) against money laundering involving 31 countries, including Portugal. In 90% of cases this attack is done online and now there is a new warning: there are increasingly "ingenious ways to recruit money mules".
A money mule is a human mail used to mislead international money transfers from criminal activities, which according to Europol in 90% of cases happen on the Internet. So phishing, malware attacks, online shopping fraud and credit card cloning are some of the examples.
In the statement available on the official Europol website, the European service highlights the increasingly clear bet of recruiting from online dating sites and social networks through online advertisements that promise quick and easy enrichment. "This technique is particularly popular when it comes to targeting students and young adults," writes Europol.
To raise awareness of this type of fraud, the #DontbeaMule campaign is starting today across Europe. With awareness-raising material, available for download in 25 languages, the campaign will provide information on how criminals operate, and how victims can protect themselves.