Europol prevents €30m+ in losses through annual money mule crackdown

Europol joins forces with European law enforcement authorities to make 422 arrests and expose 4031 money mules as part of the sixth annual European Money Mule Action ‘EMMA 6’ operation.

Fourthline Forrester TEI thumbnailBy The Fourthline Team
Europol Headquarters

In collaboration with the European Banking Federation, FinTech FinCrime Exchange, Interpol and Western Union, Europol and law enforcement authorities across 26 countries successfully carried out the sixth consecutive EMMA 6 from September to November 2020.

A global operation against money mule schemes, EMMA 6 initiated 1529 criminal investigations—not only identifying over 4000 money mules and arresting over 400, but also exposing 227 money mule recruiters.

Europol defines money mules as “individuals who, often unwittingly, have been recruited by criminal organisations as money laundering agents to hide the origin of ill-gotten money. Unaware that they are engaging in criminal activities, and tricked by the promise of easy money, mules transfer stolen funds between accounts, often in different countries, on behalf of others. In exchange, they receive a commission for their services.”

Europol’s 2020 EMMA 6 report goes on to explain, “While mules are recruited via numerous routes such as direct contact or through email, criminals are more and more turning to social media to recruit new accomplices, through the advertisement of fake jobs offers (e.g., ‘money transfer agents’), online pop-up ads and instant messaging applications. Although some COVID-19 related cases have been reported, payment process compromise and romance scams continue to be the most recurrent schemes. The use of cryptocurrencies by money mules is also on the rise.”

Initiatives like EMMA 6 are essential to the continued prevention of global money laundering, but in order to fight fraud at scale, enterprises vulnerable to financial crime must take their own proactive measures to protect their businesses. Effective Know Your Customer (KYC) practices can stop fraudsters before they’ve even gained access to a business, while also monitoring post-onboarding customer activity for suspicious patterns that may reveal criminal syndicates and money mules.

With its modular, end-to-end KYC product offering, Fourthline helps some of Europe’s most trusted financial institutions, fintechs, and brokers meet regulatory requirements and protect their businesses against financial crime. Fourthline’s experts work closely with clients to understand their risk appetite and compliance needs, and then help turn their anti-fraud practices into a business strength.

With over 210 data point checks (over 95 percent of which are automated), Fourthline assesses every individual KYC case thoroughly and efficiently. Using a proprietary combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and expert analysis, Fourthline compares data across geolocation, device metadata, biometrics, document analytics, and more to prevent fraudulent account creation and usage—including hard-to-detect money mule activity. Meanwhile, Fourthline’s industry-leading conversion rates and fully customizable configuration and reporting enable enterprises to implement modern KYC practices on their terms, in a way that’s efficient, effective, and easy to scale.

Serkan Ünal, Head of Strategic Partnerships
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Get in touch with Serkan Ünal, who brings years of investment banking and econometrics expertise to his role as Head of Strategic Partnerships.