National Consumer Protection Week (Feb. 28-March 6) is underway, and this year, the Postal Inspection Service is spreading the word about money mules.
Money mules are people who receive and transfer money that has been fraudulently obtained. Some mules are willing recruits, while others become unwitting accomplices without realizing their actions are supporting illegal activity.
Criminals use several methods to recruit mules, including scams involving working from home, lotteries and romance.
Transferring money or valuables on behalf of others in this way only benefits criminals and may lead to serious consequences for the person working as the mule. To avoid becoming a mule, the Inspection Service offers the following tips:
• Don’t engage in financial transactions with strangers;
• Don’t take a job that promises easy money and involves sending or receiving money or packages;
• Run any work-from-home opportunities or money transferring offers past a trusted friend or family member; and
• Contact the Better Business Bureau or access your state’s corporation directory to help verify whether the business is legitimate.
Report suspected money mule activity or other scams to the Inspection Service by submitting an online report at USPIS.gov/report or calling 877-876-2455.