Criminal networks seek to exploit vulnerable members of the community. They target and recruit them as money mules to launder their proceeds of crime and reintegrate the funds back into the economy. This creates distance between the networks and the crime, and helps to avoid detection by law enforcement. 

Criminal networks primarily target international students and non-permanent residents through face-to-face contact or online platforms. They use a variety of means to recruit them as money mules, offering them a way to make money while living in Australia. Criminal networks can also use these methods to recruit others outside of the student cohort.

This guide has been developed to assist government agencies and financial service providers, including remittance service providers and digital currency exchanges, to understand and identify signs of criminal networks exploiting vulnerable members of the community as money mules.

Financial service providers can use the behavioural and financial indicators in this guide to review their profiling and transaction monitoring programs to identify, target and disrupt financial transactions associated with money mule activity. If financial service providers see a combination of these indicators or observe other activity that raises suspicion, they should consider submitting a suspicious matter report to AUSTRAC. 

Download the financial crime guide – Combating the exploitation of international students as money mules (PDF, 3.08MB).

The content on this website is general and is not legal advice. Before you make a decision or take a particular action based on the content on this website, you should check its accuracy, completeness, currency and relevance for your purposes. You may wish to seek independent professional advice.

Last updated: 4 Jun 2024
Page ID: 1067

Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?
Please note that feedback you provide here will be used only for the purpose of improving our website. If you have a specific question about your AML/CTF obligations, please contact us.