Don’t become a money mule – Coquitlam RCMP warn about recent scam

Coquitlam, Public Alert

2022-10-11 11:18 PDT

File # 2022-24948

Coquitlam RCMP is warning the public of a money mule scam which has surfaced in the lower mainland.

In this recent scam, a local company was unwittingly used as a money mule.

The fraudster contacted the local company claiming that they recently bought a house and were moving from out-of-province. The fraudster asked the local company to complete some home improvements prior to the possession date of the home. The local company requested a deposit for the work, which was sent by the fraudster.

Once money for the deposit had been accepted by the local company, the fraudster asked the local company for a favor to assist with their moving and storage needs. The fraudster transferred additional funds to the local company to pay for these service places, which had already been arranged by the fraudster. The local company completed the transactions for the fraudster, however, became suspicious of their legitimacy.

The local company then reported all transactions to the police, where through internet-searches, it was determined that the service places were fake.

The local company did not lose any money completing these transactions on behalf of the fraudster.

Money Mule flow chart illustration

View a larger photo: Money Mule flow chart illustration

The business owner did the right thing when he contacted the Police to report the suspicious transactions, said Corporal Alexa Hodgins, Media Relations Officer for Coquitlam RCMP. With the increase in fraud reports in Canada, it is important that Canadians remain diligent, know what scams looks like, how to protect themselves and to always report them.

What is a money mule?

A money mule is an individual who is recruited by fraudsters to act as a middle person to transfer illegally acquired money. The money mule may be witting or unwitting. A witting mule is someone who knows that they are involved in a criminal scheme. An unwitting mule is someone who may be unaware they are being used within a criminal scheme.

When money is moved in this manner, it becomes harder to identify the fraudsters from the victims. This could unknowingly lead the money mule to be tied to serious crimes.

Money mule scams typically included Prize or Romance scams, according to the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre (CAFC).

Prevention tips

  1. Do not forward money on behalf of an unknown person or company if you receive funds from them
  2. Complete an internet search on the company or person that you are being requested to transfer funds to
  3. Be cautious when asked to conduct unusual or questionable financial transactions on behalf of a third party

If you are a 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.

Released by

Cpl. Alexa Hodgins
Media Relations Officer
Coquitlam RCMP
2986 Guildford Way, Coquitlam, B.C V3B 7Y5
Office: 604-945-1580

Email: coquitlam_media@rcmp-grc.gc.ca
Website: coquitlam.rcmp-grc.gc.ca (English only)

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