United States Postal Inspection Service

Protect Yourself from Money Mule Scams

Money mules are people who receive and transfer money stolen from fraud victims. Some money mules know they’ve been recruited to assist criminal activity, but others become money mules without realizing their activity is benefiting fraudsters. These criminal elements use several methods to recruit victims:

n Work-from-home scams. A job posting offers easy money for reshipping packages, buying gift cards or postal money orders, or transferring money, which can be done at home.

n Confidence scams. A person or business you don’t know offers you a commission if you transfer money for them. Many of these scammers are active on social media sties, like Facebook and Instagram.

n Lottery scams. A person informs you that you need to transfer or accept money in order to collect a prize.

n Romance scams. A person you’ve met online or on an app who says they’re romantically interested in you asks you to transfer money or packages.

Transferring money or valuables on behalf of others only benefits criminals and may lead to serious consequences for you. Here are some of the best ways to protect yourself from money mule scams:

n Don’t engage in financial transactions with strangers. This includes transferring money into and out of accounts you own or purchasing postal money orders, gift cards, or virtual currency at the direction of others. Never give your personal information, such as your Social Security number or bank account number to someone else.

n Don’t take a job that promises easy money or involves sending or receiving money or packages. If a job sounds too good to be true, it probably is — and never take a job accepting or sending packages on behalf of others.

n Check it out. Check any work-from-home opportunity or money moving offer with a trusted family member or friend. You can also contact the nearest Better Business Bureau chapter, state corporation directory, and state attorney general’s office to see if the offer is legitimate.

n Report it. Report money mule scams as soon as possible. Call the United States Postal Inspection Service® at 877-876-2455 or visit uspis.gov/report to file a report. Also, report any suspected money mule email or social media scams to the platform provider.

For more information about money mule scams, visit uspis.gov/money-mule.