A couple of other private sector banks have also come across the use of some of their account-holders as money mules for inward and outward transfer of fraudulently obtained money.
HDFC Bank is one of them who had noticed instances of overseas fraudsters who are posing as global payment companies luring innocent people into joining them as “money transfer agents” and using their bank accounts to route ill-gotten money, including through phishing.
One of its customer, who was a victim of phishing, told him to file a police complaint and also helped the police nab another accountholder who was recruited as a money mule by some overseas fraudster.
Now bankers have got alert against money mules. Banks have decided to make their customers aware against phishing and money mules.
In a meeting held at the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) the leading banks, including ICICI and HDFC, have decided to send communications to customers in this regard.
A banker informed, “Banks will post advisories on their websites. It is very important as gullible people are being duped. An individual acting as a money mule is breaching the law unknowingly and could be booked for money laundering.”
The bank got one of its customers, who was a victim of phishing, to file a police complaint and also helped the police nab another accountholder who was recruited as a money mule by some overseas fraudster.
Money mules use bank accounts to transfer funds via phishing Phishing is an internet-based fraud that steals information like account numbers and net-banking passwords to siphon off money from bank accounts.
The accountholders are hired as money transfer agents who unknowingly work as money mules. Funds are transferred in their accounts and instructions are given on forwarding the money minus their commission to some accounts in foreign countries, which are closed after short periods.
In order to make quick bucks these accountholders act as money mules, unaware of the criminality involved in this.
“Customers should also be vigilant. They should delete spam mails and not accept offers from any unknown company, particularly if it is a global one. They should protect their details like they do to their house keys,” said a senior banker.
There are some do’s and don’ts which customers should follow to avoid such incidence
· Delete spam mails
· Don't accept luring offers on the Internet
· Don't share bank details in the cyber world
· Inform one's bank of any suspicious emails