A donkey and a horse meet, and a mule is born.

Criminals use money mules to transfer money between bank accounts.

Donkeys and horses love mules. They can carry heavy loads over rocky terrains and don't ask too many questions. And, that's what makes them so appealing to crooks. Okay, let me back up.

Donkeys and horses are the crafty criminals in our story. They get unsuspecting "mules", aka victims, to illegally move money from one bank or person to another. But, why would a mule do such a thing?

I can assure you - it's not for the hay.

Meet Hannah Horse, David Donkey, and Marty Mule. Each has a role to play. But it looks like one of them doesn't know they're just a stand-in.

Tuesday, October 20, 8:58 pm
(phone call)

Hannah Horse: I found someone. His name is Marty Mule.

David Donkey: Are you sure he can do the job?

Hannah Horse: Yes. (Hee! Hee!) I think he's actually in love with me. He'll do anything I ask.

David Donkey: I don't care about that. Just make sure he follows through.

Thursday, October 22, 7:32 am
(phone call)

Hannah Horse: Sure you can, Marty. When we met online a few months ago, I knew you were the one. Promise me you'll do it.

Marty Mule: But I don't know about this.

Hannah Horse: You want to help me out, don't you?

Marty Mule: Of course. I'm your boyfriend.

Hannah Horse: Then, what are you going to do tomorrow at 2 o'clock?

Marty Mule: (sigh) Okay. I'll take the money you wired to my bank account and give it to your brother David.

Hannah Horse: Right. You're going to wire it to David. He needs the money badly. And you can keep 10 percent for the trouble. Didn't you say you needed money to pay for your mom's medical bills?

Marty Mule: Yeah, you know I do. When am I gonna finally meet you in person, Hannah?

Hannah Horse: Soon, Marty. Soon

Don't Be a Mule

Criminals use money mules to transfer money between bank accounts. The money is usually stolen or a result of drug or human trafficking. Hannah found her mule through an online dating website. Once she got Marty to fall for her, the rest was easy. Even though he was hesitant, he transferred the money. Now, he's facing possible jail time even though he was unaware that he was being used to commit a crime.

  • Never offer or give your private banking details to anyone you meet online, even if they provide you with money claiming "no strings attached". They may simply wait a while before asking you to make the transfer.

  • Steer clear of employers that require you to open a new bank account to receive your paycheck.

  • Stop contact with anyone who asks you to accept money into your bank account and transfer it to someone else.

Report suspected money mule scams to your financial institution, local police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).