What is Money Muling and how to defend yourself

Internet and new technologies have increased online money laundering, here's how to recognize Money Muling and what risks you run

Since man invented currency, money laundering is one of the main problems and one of the most practiced activities by criminal groups. Internet and new technologies have made this phenomenon grow increasing  also the dangers for users.

Money laundering through the Net is defined as Money Muling. According to various law enforcement researches, about 90% of money muling on the Internet is related to organized groups of hackers and cyber criminals. Basically, it is the method used by malicious individuals to launder money obtained from users through malware, ransomware, phishing campaigns and so on. In this way, a cybercriminal uses a front man to transfer the stolen money to his bank accounts and in return the person who makes these transactions receives a percentage. Often unsuspecting users are used for such money transfers.

How to Recognize Money Muling

In order to deceive users and convince them to make transactions in the name of others, hackers create fake investment and betting sites. Victims are convinced that they will earn a percentage, usually 10%, on the transactions made in their name, but in reality they are only laundering the money illegally earned with malware by cyber criminals. Why should we stay away from sites that offer such earning possibilities? The answer is simple: because these actions are illegal and liable to prosecution. By agreeing to earn money through money muling, even if we are not fully aware of where the money is coming from, we will be the main ones investigated by the law and in any case we will be considered as accomplices and responsible.

It is no coincidence that the State Police and Europol have launched a campaign to raise awareness and create a defense against money muling. The campaign is called #DontbeaMule, literally "don't be a dunce," and aims to inform the most clueless users about the legal dangers they may face if they agree to act as a front man for cybercrime laundering.