Working from Home and Business Opportunity Fraud - Money Mules

Our advice for home working and avoiding business opportunity fraud.

Have you been the victim of this crime?

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Report to Action fraud

Working from home is attractive for many reasons, and there are many well established franchise operators that enable a great deal of freedom to work independently.

Is the opportunity too good to be true? Many involve small rewards for a great deal of work and others may implicate the unwary in criminal offences including Money Laundering.

The sales pitch

  • An opportunity published in a newspaper or magazine, on-line, by email or even at the side of the road
  • You can make easy money by working at home, or by setting up your own online business
  • You could act as an intermediary, filling envelopes, posting items, making phone calls, assembling items, mystery shopping, selling items, processing payments, the list is endless
  • These activities may be part of a more elaborate fraud or ‘Scam’ - see our Mass Market fraud page

You’ll get to

  • Pay money up front to register with the scheme
  • Buy customer details
  • Buy products to sell
  • Involve other people in the scheme
  • Send money by Money Transfer to somebody you don’t know

You’ll find out

  • The leads are no good
  • The products are no good
  • The reward doesn’t justify the work
  • You’ve lost money and are in debt
  • You may have committed criminal offences
  • Your personal details sold on to other scammers and you’ve become an easy target for identity fraud

Look out for

  • Over optimistic business opportunities
  • Adverts that tell you that you can sit back and let a business run it
  • Accommodation addresses as the only contact address
  • Contact details that include mobile phone numbers beginning with 07
  • Web mail email addresses such as @gmail, @yahoo or @hotmail
  • People who are difficult to contact, you have not met and you unable to prove who they are

Money Mules

  • A money mule is somebody who uses their bank accounts to receive and make payments on behalf of another party.
  • Many work from home scams involve the use of personal bank accounts. Involvement in fraud or other ‘criminal enterprise’ may lead the unwary to commit Money Laundering offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
  • Don’t be tempted by seemingly easy offers for work.
  • Report any adverts for fraudulent business opportunities to the magazines, newspapers or web site operators that published them.