A man from the northern Netherlands has had 1 million euros stolen from him by cyber criminals overnight
The man received a text from ‘his bank’ that his card had expired and that he could get a new one but had to send in his old one first. The man complied with the request, only to find that his money had been looted. The message had unfortunately come at the ‘right time’ as in reality, the man’s card really did have to be renewed, so he sent his card in good faith. 136 people were involved in the scheme and each earned a large sum of money from participating in the criminal network. They each ‘lent’ their bank accounts to the scammers- the man in question found that the amount of money stolen had been sent in smaller portions to 136 bank accounts.
What are mules?
Money mules are those who offer their bank accounts to criminals (often for a fee or another kind of reward) so that they can partake in money laundering. Europol are launching a campaign: Don’t be a mule. They aim to educate people about the consequences of being a mule, as being involved even in this ‘small’ way means you are part of the criminal network, even if you are not directly involved in the scam. As reported by RTV Drenthe, aside from the potential consequence of being sentenced to prison for up to 6 years, banks also take action against offenders. The person is considered ‘unreliable’, and placed on a warning list for 8 years. This prevents you from applying for a mortgage, getting credit, or receiving a student loan.