Thirty-two money mules – people who transfer stolen money between countries, even unwittingly – have been identified in a coordinated operation by city and cantonal police officers in Zurich. Two people have been arrested.
In addition, 28 criminal proceedings were opened and four orders for summary punishment were issued, the cantonal police said in a statementexternal link on Tuesday.
More than 90% of money mule transactions are linked to cybercrime, according to Europolexternal link, the European Union’s agency for law enforcement cooperation.
Money mules – often jobseekers replying to seemingly legitimate job adverts – are also recruited by criminals to receive money into their bank account, in order to withdraw the money and in most cases wire it overseas, receiving a commission payment in return for the provided services.
The Zurich police warned that whoever makes their banks account available for such activities can face punishment for illegally laundering the proceeds of crime.
Switzerland was one of 26 countries to take part in the third international operation against money mules. Cantons Zurich and Aargau participated. Across the 26 countries, a total of 766 money mules were identified and 159 people were arrested.
The police are running an awareness campaign in which they say job seekers should be sceptical, pointing out that reputable companies never ask for confidential information by email and always carry out interviews. If one has doubts, the police say, don’t take the job.
swissinfo.ch and agencies/ts