The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are launching a campaign from June 6th to 10th to raise awareness about how fraudsters are using unsuspecting victims as money mules to launder funds and proceeds of crime.
2021 was a historic year for frauds reported to the CAFC, with reported losses totalling $380 million, which was a dramatic increase from $164 million in losses in 2020. It is estimated that only 5% of victims report their frauds to law enforcement or the CAFC.
With the sharp increase in reported frauds and the noticeable prevalence of money mules, the partners want to educate Canadians on the various frauds that utilize money mules, in addition to providing general awareness to prevent victimization.
What is a money mule?
A money mule is an individual who is recruited by fraudsters to serve as a middle person to transfer stolen money. The mule may, or may not, be aware that they are a pawn in a larger network. When a mule moves money, it becomes harder to identify the fraudsters from the victims, and can lead to victims being tied to serious crimes.
The money is often transferred using bank wire transfers, email money transfers, through money services businesses and cryptocurrencies. Typically, mules get paid for their services, receiving a small percentage of the money transferred, but fraudsters may disguise these funds as “a payment from clients”, “a loan for a crypto investment”, “prize winnings” and much more.
A money mule is used in the money laundering process, which is an offense under the Criminal Code of Canada (Section 462.31).
Through awareness and education, Canadians can be better prepared and protected.
On June 8, 2022, at 10:00 am, the CAFC and OPP will be hosting a Live Chat on social media discussing money mules and related frauds. The guest speakers will be Intelligence Researcher / Profiler, Nancy Cahill, CAFC, and Liaison Officer Acting Detective Sergeant John Armit, CAFC and more!
The partners will also be sharing more information, tips and links to various resources through its social media platforms. The public is encouraged to engage in the conversation to help recognize, reject and report frauds by using the hashtags #DontBeAMule, #kNOwFraud, #Take5, #Tell2.
If you are the victim of a scam, fraud or cybercrime, please contact your local police. It is also essential that you report an incident, whether you are a victim or not, to the CAFC via their Online Reporting System or by phone at 1-888-495-8501.