AFP expects a flood of money mules to accompany the reopening of the Australian border

As Australia’s international border reopens, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) have warned that criminal activity such as money laundering and the use of monetary mules is likely to increase.

This article explores the Key Considerations described by AFP.

What is a Money Mule?

A silver mule is a person who transfers money obtained illegally between different payment accounts, very often in different countries, on behalf of others.

Financial mules are often recruited by criminals to receive money into their bank account, to withdraw the money and in most cases transfer it overseas, receiving a commission in return for the services provided.

AFP expects attempts to smuggle money through airports to increase as passenger numbers increase after Australia’s international border reopens.

Criminal groups often target international students or non-permanent residents traveling to Australia to become financial mules, helping criminals launder the proceeds of crime and move them overseas. Although financial mules may not know their actions are illegal, they may still be subject to arrest and criminal charges.

How to protect yourself

The AFP outlines a number of steps you can take to protect yourself from being exploited by criminals as a financial mule.

  • Never give details of your financial accounts.
  • Do not agree to open accounts with multiple banks or operate accounts to receive money.
  • Beware of unsolicited offers or opportunities offering the possibility of making easy money.
  • Beware of offers from people or companies abroad, as it is more difficult to verify if they are legitimate.
  • Take steps to verify any company that makes you a job offer.
  • Never give your confidential bank details or credentials to anyone.
  • Always protect your personal information and be suspicious if someone asks for personal information shortly after contact.
  • Beware of someone asking for financial assistance and never send money.
  • Be careful and do not provide any details if you are asked about your financial situation.
  • If you believe you have been caught in a money mule scheme, AFP recommends that you contact your bank or financial institution immediately, as you could run the risk of having your identity or savings stolen.

Key points to remember

As Australia’s international border reopens, AFP expects criminal groups to target the community to become financial mules and help move the proceeds of crime overseas. It is important to be aware of red flags and know how to protect yourself.