With effect from 31 October 2023, the Business I-Banking service will be terminated and will be replaced by our new Baiduri b.Digital Business service. To help you with your transition, email us at [email protected].
Don't become a money mule!
Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and money mule scams are on the rise.
A money mule is someone who, either knowingly or unknowingly, allows someone else use his or her bank account, often in exchange for cash, to transfer money that may have been obtained illegally. According to Interpol money mules assist criminal organisations to launder money. They are typically recruited by criminals who manipulate them into transferring illegally obtained funds, often from online scams and frauds.

The term ‘mule’ originally referred to individuals involved in drug trafficking who transported illegal substances. In the digital realm, ‘mule accounts’ are now used to transfer illicit funds between bank accounts.

Money mules play a role in facilitating money laundering activities. They can face legal consequences for their involvement, even if they were unaware of their role in the scheme.
The Tale of Fared
Consider the story of Fared, a simple family man who lived in Kampong Jangsak. He earned a living through a small carpentry business, enough to support his wife and two children. One day, he reconnected with a childhood friend, Hakim, who had recently returned from overseas.

Hakim made Fared a tempting offer – to partner in a venture that promised significant financial gains. All Fared had to do was provide his bank account details to Hakim, who claimed it was for receiving funds related to the purchase of goods for export.

Trusting Hakim without too many questions, Fared believed he was entering a legitimate import-export business.

Months passed, and Fared enjoyed newfound luxuries, despite harboring doubts about the venture. His world shattered one day when local authorities arrived and detained him for his involvement in money laundering.

Though Fared is a fictional character, his story is based on real incidents occurring not only in Southeast Asia but across the world. In Singapore, The Straits Times reported last month that more than 300 suspected scammers and money mules were arrested for their alleged involvement in over 1,300 scam cases, costing victims over SGD$ 9.4 million. In Malaysia, the Malay Mail reported in April this year that online scam syndicates pay MYR$500 each for mule accounts.

Spotting the signs

Criminal syndicates use various social engineering techniques to recruit and exploit individuals as money mules. Popular methods include fake job offers, promises of easy money, and romance scams.

Read our article Looking for love? Don’t fall prey to these online romance scams for more insight.

The fake job offers often advertise "work from home" opportunities, which can seem appealing to potential victims. In such cases, victims are asked to provide personal information and create financial accounts for fund transfers or merchandise deliveries.

In other instances, the promise of easy money may involve receiving a commission for transferring money through their accounts. If you have received and accepted an unsolicited offer to make easy money by letting someone else use your bank account, you may unknowingly be acting as a money mule.

Most individuals involved aren't aware they're being used as money mules. Like Fared, they believe they're conducting legitimate business transactions. In reality, they’re actually aiding money laundering schemes related to cybercrime, payment and online fraud, drugs, and human trafficking.

Potential consequences of being a money mule include suspension or closure of your bank account by your bank, and legal consequences such as fines, penalties and imprisonment.

Recognising a Scam:
Here are three red flags to protect yourself from becoming a money mule.

1. The promise of easy money
Be cautious of unsolicited offers via email or social media promising easy money, including requests to ‘rent’ your bank account for transferring money. If an offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!

2. Investigate the details
Before committing to a job offer or business venture, research the company or individual. Ensure all communication originates from official email accounts, as legitimate employers use proper hiring processes.

3. Access to your accounts
Finally, beware of requests to access your bank account and transfer money. Legitimate job offers should not involve opening new bank accounts or transferring funds to others. Regularly monitor your bank statements and report unusual transactions to your bank immediately. Your account’s security is your responsibility; never share your personal or bank account details.

Whether it’s a fake job or a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity, criminals are adept at exploiting vulnerabilities of individuals. With scammers getting more sophisticated, it is important to do your due diligence before accepting any offer, and to monitor your bank accounts regularly identify any unusual activity.

If you suspect a money mule scam, cease communication with the other party and report it to the police immediately. You can also reach out to us via email or visit your nearest branch. Additionally, our 24-hour customer helpline is available at 244 9666.

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Important update
19 September 2023

We would like to inform you that with effect from 31 October 2023, Business i-Banking service will no longer be operational, and this will be replaced with our new Baiduri b.Digital Business service.

If your company has not transitioned to b.Digital Business, please ensure that every existing user provides the following by 8 October 2023 through the Business i-Banking Inbox:
  • User’s full name
  • User’s valid Identification Card (IC) or Passport
  • User’s mobile number
  • User's company assigned email address (General company email is not accepted e.g., [email protected])

Alternatively, you can complete the b.Digital Business Amendment Form and submit the form(s) directly to Baiduri Digital Hub, Ground Level, Baiduri Bank Headquarters.

Every user will receive a notification email at their registered email address, once they have been migrated and activated on the b.Digital Business service.

Companies who have not moved to b.Digital Business after 31 October 2023 can re-apply as a new subscriber to the b.Digital Business service. This will require additional documentations to be submitted as part of the application. Refer “Required Documents” here.

Important notice: Our Business i-Banking service will be deactivated soon. To ensure continued access and a smooth transition to the new Baiduri b.Digital Business, please provide your full name, IC, email address and mobile number via Business i-Banking Inbox. If we do not receive updated details from all authorised users, your company will not be migrated to the new platform and a fresh application will be required. For assistance, contact us at [email protected] or call 2268 637/8/9 during business hours. Thank you for your cooperation.

To strengthen our online security measures, effective 8 January 2024, we will introduce the cooling period feature on our Baiduri b.Digital Personal web and mobile app to prevent unauthorised access.

Click here for more information.

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