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A money mule is a person who transfers money and reships high value goods that have been fraudulently obtained in one country, usually via the internet, to another country, usually where the perpetrator of the fraud lives. The term money mule is formed by analogy with drug mules.
The need for money mules arises because while a criminal in a developing country can obtain the credit card numbers, bank account numbers, passwords and other financial details of a victim living in the first world via the internet through techniques such as malware and phishing, turning those details into money usable in the criminal's own country can be difficult. Many businesses will refuse to transfer money or ship goods to certain countries where there is a high likelihood that the transaction is fraudulent. The criminal therefore recruits a money mule in the victim's country who will receive money transfers and merchandise and resend them to the criminal in return for a commission.
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