Search for easy extra earnings may bring about criminal liability
The Centre for Financial Literacy of the Bank of Lithuania notes that in autumn, many Lithuanians are looking for new work-related challenges or additional income, but negligence may be ruinous. Miroslava Kryštul, Principal Lawyer of the Bank of Lithuania, warns to be cautious and not to be tempted with proposals to open an account and allow other persons to use it. “Such a request is a clear indication that you can become a money mule, and the offer to make use of your own account and get some money in return could result in criminal liability and lost funds,” she says.
Money mules are people who “lend” their payment account for a fee to other persons to cash or transfer money to another account, open an account in their own name and allow others to use it.
By using money mules, criminals seek to carry out monetary operations and conceal their identity, thus remaining anonymous and transferring responsibility to another person.
“Criminals are constantly looking for ways to legalise criminal proceeds, including the use of third parties and their accounts.
They can try to contact someone in person, by email, phone, or online – through job ads, dating sites, social networks. They often target newcomers to the country, unemployed people, students and people in economic hardship as well as pensioners,” says Miroslava Kryštul, Principal Lawyer of the Bank of Lithuania.
It is noted that in such cases, men aged 18–34 are more likely to be recruited by criminals. Therefore, one needs to be vigilant and not give in to temptations of easy and quick earnings.
According to the lawyer, in such cases, attempts are made to persuade that such activities are completely risk-free, and a higher remuneration is promised if the victim also includes their friends in the activity.
“Unfortunately, such an act will make you an accomplice to the crime, so never open a bank account in your name at the request of another person, do not pass on access to your bank account or other sensitive financial information, or disclose your personal data.
If you suspect that you are being sought to be used for criminal purposes, please contact the Lithuanian law enforcement authorities immediately,” warns Miroslava Kryštul.
Trying to involve individuals in money muling is just one way of financial fraud. For more information about these methods and how to avoid them, see the section prepared by the Centre for Financial Literacy dedicated to fraud prevention.