Fraudsters use money mules for laundering as well as to receive and reship goods purchased with stolen identities. A large mule network provides more low risk shipping addresses for fraudsters to utilize as well as more options for strategically chosen shipping locations less likely to trigger fraud detection systems. A down economy and millions of people out of work makes it easier for fraudsters to recruit money mules with work-from-home schemes.
Money mules range from knowingly complicit to those duped by fraudsters. Whether they believe they are a holiday gift wrapper or know they are aiding and abetting fraud, these mules become more willing to participate in activity they know, or even think might be, illicit when out of work or when times are tough.