Money Mule Hunting - Use Cases - XTN Cognitive Security


Respond in real-time to the money mule threat, minimizing the fraud analyst’s manual activity.

Market Overview

Preventing Money Mule activity is a historical issue for financial institutions, but presently the problem is spreading faster than ever for several reasons. The critical job-loss situation caused by COVID 19 and the increase of digital onboarding procedures implies new challenges to identity verification processes and security check procedures. Also, new payment schemes like instant payment reduce the time for anti-fraud checks before the cash-out, and untraceable payment schemes like cryptocurrency make it harder to trace money flow.

What is it?

A Money Mule is a person who electronically transfers money acquired illegally on behalf of others, obtaining a commission for it. The illegal cash often originates from criminal activities such as phishing, malware attacks, eCommerce fraud, CEO fraud, to name but a few. A mule could be:

  • a fraudster
  • a person consciously colluded with a fraudster
  • a “person defrauded” by a fraudster
  • a compromised account

Money Mule accounts are banking accounts that Money Mules use to move illicit funds. Those accounts could be related to money laundering.

How does it work?

Money Mules usually transfer illegally obtained funds between banks, countries, currencies, or cryptocurrencies. Criminals recruit people as money mules to help launder proceeds derived from online scams and frauds or crimes like human trafficking and drug trafficking. Money mules add layers of distance between crime victims and criminals, making it harder for law enforcement to trace money trails accurately.

The challenge

Money Mules represent a critical threat to banking institutions since they pose both compliance issues and significant reputational damage. Being involved in a money-laundering operation could affect new customer acquisition rates, undermine share values, and introduce unexpected costs.

How we can help

At XTN Cognitive Security®, we believe that converging AML and fraud checks into a single solution offers multiple benefits, especially when dealing with money mules. The Cognitive Security Platform® detects the mule accounts relying on:

  • Application phase protection. During the application request phase, additional checks spot out fake and synthetic accounts from the very beginning;
  • Account monitoring. Analyzing incoming funds to accounts focusing on unusual behavior, velocity and relying on multiple watchlists to recognize suspect payer;
  • External data sources. Integrating external information in the evaluation process to spot money mule activity.

Thanks to the behavioral-based Cognitive Security Platform®’s continuous monitoring, our clients can respond in real-time to the money mule threat without affecting the user experience in any way and minimizing the fraud analyst’s manual activity.

Business Risks

Consequences of Money Muling can impact a digital business by:

• Reputational issues
• Compliance issues
• Unexpected costs


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