Money mule and investment scams: your defensive guide
Today, we will be talking about some tricky scams that are affecting our customers and other financial services—Money Mule fraud and Investment scam fraud. We'll break down what they are and give you simple ways to protect yourself.
What is a Money Mule Scam?
A Money Mule is someone who transfers or moves illegally acquired money on behalf of someone else.
EXAMPLES: A person who transfers money gained by illegal means through a courier service, or electronically for example via PayPal or WISE and gets paid for the transfer.
IMPORTANT: The mule is not always unaware that they are participating in criminal activity and may be convinced that they are doing something legal or legitimate.
Money Mules in Cryptocurrency Exchanges:
In the world of cryptocurrency, money mules are used to convert stolen cryptocurrency into fiat currency (pounds, euros etc.). Criminals will steal cryptocurrency and then use a money mule to transfer it to a cryptocurrency exchange. The mule will then sell the cryptocurrency for fiat currency and transfer the funds to other accounts.
How to protect yourself from Money Mule Scams
- If a job offer or other type of casual work promises easy money or requires you to transfer money to other accounts, it may be a money mule scam. If it is too good to be true, it rarely is!
- Do not give out personal information or bank account details to anyone you do not know.
- Research any company or individual offering you an opportunity. Check their website, social media profiles, and reviews to help ensure that they are legitimate.
- Be wary of requests to transfer money to anyone that you haven’t met or do not trust. By being vigilant and following these tips, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of this type of scam.
What is an Investment Scam Fraud?
Investments are very popular and unfortunately, the prolific advertisement of high gain/return investments has made this scam popular.
Let’s dig in deeper:
Scammers use social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to reach their victims. They create fake profiles that look professional and legitimate, often using stolen images and credentials. Once they have gained the victim's trust, the scammer will ask for a deposit before supposedly starting to invest on your behalf.
IMPORTANT: Scammers very often ask to download AnyDesk on the victim’s computer to gain access to the whole device. Please read this article from the AnyDesk website.
Scammers may also ask for access to the victim's cryptocurrency wallet or ask them to transfer funds to a specific wallet address. However, once the money is sent, the scammer disappears, and the victim is left with no way of recovering their funds.
Protecting Yourself from Investment Scam Fraud:
- Be cautious of social media accounts that promise guaranteed profits or high returns on investments. Legitimate traders and investment managers will never make such guarantees.
- Do your research before investing in any cryptocurrency/ investment trader. Check their website, social media profiles, and reviews to help ensure that they are legitimate. (IMPORTANT: if you see only recent reviews and many reviews on the same day – this is a red flag for potential fake reviews/bot reviews to gain trust).
- Be wary of requests for upfront fees or deposits before any trading is done. Legitimate traders and investment managers will not ask for any money upfront.
Tips to stay safe online:
- Creating a strong password.
- Never click on a link you didn't expect to receive.
- Check the website/email address you received the notification/email from.
- Set up 2FA on every device you own, email etc.
- Reach out to customer support via your Wirex account if you have any questions or concerns. (https://wirexapp.com/help)