Money muling and money laundering in Australia

Criminals use money mules as a way to launder money in Australia and around the world.

Australian money

If you’ve been offered easy money to transfer money on behalf of a third party, you could be unknowing laundering money for criminals. Money laundering is a crime within Australia and if you participate as a money mule you could be convicted of a serious offence.

What’s a money mule? 

A money mule is a person who transfers money they received from a third party (digitally, in cash or via a cheque) to another third party, and they obtain a commission for it. The most targeted people to engage in this fraudulent activity are those under 35 including minors, newcomers to a country and unemployed, students or people in economic distress. 

This is because money mule ‘job offers’ often include a way for the mule to make money easily which can seem enticing for those under financial stress. 

Methods used by criminal to recruit mules

Criminals recruiting money mules are smart in the way they target individuals. They often advertise in the same way as you would see a clothing company, or online promotion. 
You may get direct contact in person or through an email or get an instant message through systems like WhatsApp or Viber. In order to make the scam authentic, they can copy a genuine company’s website with a similar URL.

On the other hand, you might simply see a social media ad on Facebook or Instagram or online pop-up ads. These ads may claim that other people have made heaps of money using their foolproof income method, or that they’re looking for people in your area for a job to make cash quick. Whatever the offer, if it’s a job to move money on behalf of someone you don’t know, be wary! 

Warning Signs! 

Some common warning sings you should be aware of that a job offer is not legitimate is:

  • Unsolicited contact promising easy money
  • Job adverts from overseas companies seeking ‘local/national agents’ to act on their behalf
  • The offer has poor sentence structure with grammar mistakes
  • The sender’s email address it likely to use a free web-based service like Gmail or Hotmail, that doesn’t match the company’s name
  • There is no education or experience requirements listed
  •  All interactions and transactions are done online
  • The specifics of the job always include using your bank account to move money

Prevention tips

  • If you receive a job offer online, research the company or person first
  • Never provide your bank account to anyone unless you know and trust them
  • Decline any easy money offers. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is 

What next? 

If you think you’re involved in a money mule scheme, the best thing to do is to stop transferring money immediately and report it to your national police. You should also notify your bank or payment provider. For example you could notify heritage by emailing or by calling us 24/7 on 13 14 22. 


Related tips 

Scam alerts & fraud protection
Fight scammers with our help. Learn how we protect you from fraud and become savvy at identifying scams with our help guides and security tips.
How to avoid investment scams
Investment scams cost Australians hundreds of millions of dollars each year and research from the Customer Owned Banking Association reveals that both novice and experienced investors may fall vulnerable. So, how do you avoid investment scams in Australia?
Improve online payment security with PayID
Did you know that you can use PayID to reduce your chances of falling victim to a scam? Here's why.

Related products

Was this helpful?