FinCEN Warns of Impostor, Money Mule Scams Connected with COVID-19

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network today issued an advisory alerting financial institutions to impostor scams and money mule schemes connected to the coronavirus pandemic. The advisory highlights several red flag indicators associated with these scams and reminded banks to report any suspicious activity.

FinCEN noted that COVID-19 impostor scams generally involve fraudsters posing as officials or representatives from the IRS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization or other healthcare or nonprofit groups and academic institutions. Such scams often seek to coerce victims to provide personal information or send payment in order to receive coronavirus-related government benefits, or to share information as part of contact tracing efforts.

In addition, money mule scams have been observed during the pandemic, with scammers often using good-Samaritan, romance or work-from-home schemes to entice victims to open new bank accounts that can then be used to move laundered funds.