For a third consecutive year, the ABB and the Bulgarian Law Enforcement authorities participate in a European campaign dedicated to the fight against the money mules /European Money Mule Action – EMMA/.
Money mule is a person who transfers illegally acquired money between different payment accounts, often in different countries, and receives a commission for this activity. According to Europol statistics, in 95% of cases money mules are used to obtain unauthorized transactions funds acquired from previous cybercrime activity. Often funds are intended to finance other criminal activities and money laundering.
The campaign is organized by the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol and the EU Coordination Body for Judicial Cooperation – Eurojust, in a partnership with the European Banking Federation, to which the ABB is a member. Operational activities were conducted on the territory of 29 countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Moldova, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States) and are aimed at preventing and counteracting financial crimes on the Internet facilitated through money mules.
1504 money mules, as well as 26,376 unauthorized transactions totaling around € 72.4 million, have been identified by Europol, more than 24,500 victims of crime have been identified and damages of € 36.1 million were prevented. 168 people were detained, 2409 were interrogated and 837 investigations were initiated. Тhe Bulgarian law enforcement authorities, according to information from the General Directorate Combating Organized Crime, 112 financial mules and 52 victims of criminal activity have been identified.
The banking sector supports the efforts of the police and prosecutors and contributes to the limitation and prevention of such fraudulent practices.
The ABB believes that cooperation between public authorities and the private sector at European level is crucial in combating money mules as criminals often operate cross-border. Therefore, the Association of Banks in Bulgaria successfully co-operates with the law enforcement agencies, both in Bulgaria and at European level, in order to conduct information campaigns on the risks and threats related to financial mules. These campaigns are aimed at helping Internet users to distinguish between suspicious and potentially dangerous announcements that seek to recruit “mules” with promises of easy profits. One of the main means of preventing such offenses is raising awareness on the issue.
How to protect yourself and what you should do in case you get an email with questionable content requesting your personal information, for example, your bank account, or in case you have suspicions that someone is trying to involve you in illegal activities – refer to the information brochures and videos below that provide more details about money muling.