Let’s talk about mule accounts

Published January 13, 2022, 6:30 AM

by MB Technews

Do you have a bank account that you have not been using for a long time or do you know of other people who have unused accounts? In social media, there are offers going around recently that you can make big money quickly with unused bank accounts.

How does this work? There are people who post on Facebook that they will pay those who will let them use unused bank accounts. These people will claim that they need them because they don’t have an account and that they need to transfer money immediately to others such as their loved ones.

At times, the request can be something as simple as being directly asked whether they can borrow your bank account to transfer money and receiving a fee in return. That does not just apply to unused bank accounts, but even to the account you often use.

It’s tempting, isn’t it? Where else can you earn something as big as P10,000 for merely letting others use your bank account? But you should be careful with this if you do not want to end up helping criminals.

If you let other people use your bank accounts, you become a “money mule.” Bank accounts that are being used by money mules are called “mule accounts.”

In the first place, what are mule accounts?

Mule accounts are those that belong to people who have knowingly or unknowingly allowed criminals to use their account to transfer illegally obtained money, such as money stolen from victims of phishing scams. Therefore, letting other people use your bank account to transfer money carries a risk that you are helping criminals transfer and hide money they stole from other people.

At times, criminals can create mule accounts using fake identities through stolen personal information of other people. The police may think you committed a crime. But, in the first place, you did not commit the crime because you were unaware a bank account was created under your name and was used for a crime. This is how scary fake identities are.

There are other ways wherein you can become a money mule. For example, there are criminals who offer home-based jobs that involve receiving money and remitting it out to other bank accounts. You may think there is nothing wrong with that kind of job, but most likely, the money you will transfer was stolen from victims of cybercrime.

It’s truly frightening to think that something as simple as letting other people use your bank accounts can be terrible. Being an accomplice to a crime, the police will end up investigating how you accidentally helped a criminal, and you could even end up in prison for doing that.

Fortunately, it is easy to avoid becoming a money mule. Is someone asking you to borrow your bank account so that he/she can transfer money to others? Just say NO.

Stay away from “easy money” schemes. It’s too good to be true! Even banks and other legitimate financial institutions can never guarantee returns within a short period of time. 

We should also never share our personal data to those we do not know. Aside from our bank accounts being hacked like in phishing scams, criminals can use our data to create fake identities, which will then be used to create bank accounts to aid them in their schemes.

Do not let other people use your bank account and make transactions on their behalf. Do not become a money mule!