Be wary of unsolicited offers or opportunities offering you the chance to make some money.
Record numbers of young people between 18 to 24 year olds have been used as “money mules” by crime gangs and terrorists to launder the proceeds of serious crime.
This kind of fraud usually sees the person allowing their bank account to be used to move criminal money making it harder for the authorities to track.
Fraud experts say there have been 8,652 cases between January and September this year which is up 75 per cent on the previous year.
The money is most likely to have come from drug smuggling, people trafficking and international terrorism.
Young people are targeted because they are often the most vulnerable. If caught, the victims, often hard-up students will have their bank accounts closed and could even face jail.
Beware of companies offering substantial “work from home” tasks requiring no experience. No company should ask you to carry out financial transactions for them, using a bank account.
Research suggests that young people are targeted because they are often the most vulnerable, as criminals know they are often short of money.
Students would find it difficult to obtain student loans, mobile phone contracts or other financial products, if their bank account is closed due to money laundering.
How to avoid becoming a money mule
Never give bank details to anyone you do not know or trust
Be wary of job offers where all transactions are done online
Be wary of unsolicited offers of easy cash
If it sounds too good it probably is
Research any company that makes you any kind of job offer
Be wary of job offers written in poor English or with spelling mistakes
Verify any company that makes you a job offer and check their contact details (address, landline phone number, email address and website) are correct and whether they are registered in the UK.
If you are suspicious then Google the company name and check they have not scammed other people.
If you think you might already be part of a money mule scam it is important that you act fast. Contact your bank and the police immediately. Acting as a mule is illegal and ignorance is no defence in the eyes of the law.
To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040