A money mule is someone who transfers stolen money between different bank accounts, typically in different countries, on behalf of others. Criminals are increasingly targeting young people for this purpose through social media. They message you with promises of making quick and easy money by lending them your debit card and PIN.
In reality, you’re being lured into making your bank account available for illicit money to be transferred through it and laundered. People who fall into this trap often don’t realise that they’re acting illegally, not to mention jeopardising their own safety and that of those around them.
Beware of strangers asking you for your debit card and PIN and never give them to anyone.
How the criminals operate
The criminals create fake social media accounts and approach you through instant messaging apps like Instagram, WhatsApp or Snapchat. They may also target you in person while socialising on a night out.
Be very wary of unsolicited approaches promising opportunities to make easy money. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Criminals may ask you to give them your debit card and PIN, typically arranging to do so in easily accessible public places such as train stations.
- Your debit card and PIN give the criminal full access to your accounts through ATMs as well as our Touch and Mobile apps. The criminals use your debit card to transfer their dirty money to a foreign account.
- In most cases, victims never see their card again and the criminals pay them nothing. Even if you’re unaware that you’re transferring illegally obtained money, you’ve assisted in fraud and money laundering and could still be prosecuted. If you’re a minor, your parents may be held liable.
How to protect yourself
- Beware of strangers asking you for your debit card and PIN and never give them to anyone
- Spread the word to make your family and friends aware of the dangers of this type of scam
- Respond only to messages from people you really know on social media
- Report social media contact promising easy money fast to the authorities: https://meldpunt.belgie.be/meldpunt/en/welcome
- Call Card Stop on 078 170 170 to block your card and contact our Secure4u team right away if you think you might be unwittingly participating in a money mule scheme.