A booklet outlining how New Zealanders can unwittingly
become money mules for international fraudsters has been
released by the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC)
and the Police.
The two organisations partnered in
producing the online publication following publicity last
month regarding how international crime rings are
increasingly targeting New Zealanders’ bank accounts to
launder proceeds from scams and fraud.
A money mule
is someone who transfers illegally acquired money on behalf
of a criminal. Mules are recruited to move money through
bank accounts, making it difficult for police to track money
stolen from a victim or gained through criminal activity
such as drugs, fraud or human trafficking.
booklet, titled Money Mules – are you working for
criminals?, details who’s at risk, how money mules
are recruited either unwittingly or complicitly, how
criminals exploit them, the possible consequences including
imprisonment for money laundering, how New Zealanders can
protect themselves, and what to do if they think they’ve
been used as a money mule.
The booklet is available
for free download from the CFFC website.
CFFC’s Fraud Education Manager, says the information is in
demand as the incidence of scams and fraud increases, and
with it the use of victims as money mules.
online scams involve asking the victim to receive money to
‘look after’ and then transfer it to another account,
usually offshore,” says Groot. “In most cases the money
has been scammed from someone else, and is destined to fund
Groot says mules are often
shocked to discover they may be charged with money
laundering and face imprisonment of up to seven years.
If a person thinks they may have been used as a mule,
Groot says they should stop all communication with the
suspected criminals, keep receipts and contact information
and notify the police.
“People of all ages and
from all walks of life can become mules,” says Groot.
“Students, new migrants, business owners, retirees, you
name it. Scammers target them through online job websites,
dating and social networking websites and online
Detective Senior Sergeant Bridget
Doell, from the Auckland City Police Financial Crime Unit,
says money laundering is a criminal offence with serious
“Our recent investigations involving
money laundering activity, such as Operations Deadwood and
Blowfish, resulted in the arrests of a significant number of
alleged offenders,” says Detective Senior Sergeant Doell.
“This demonstrates Police’s commitment to investigating
this type of offending and holding those responsible to
To read and download the booklet go to:
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