Latest scam: criminals now targeting social media users
According to Financial Fraud UK criminals are targeting social media users to act as unsuspecting money launderers. The proceeds these criminals obtain from drug smuggling, people trafficking and fraud are passed through other peoples' bank accounts to prevent it being traced back to the criminals.
New recruits (known as 'money mules') are being told that there are being employed as legitimate money transfer agents. They give criminals access to their bank accounts in exchange for a commission on money passed through their account. Funds are the moved around the world and used to fund the criminal lives of their 'employers'
The consequences for being involved in money laundering are severe - they face a prison sentence which can cause problems with future employment and obtaining a bank account or mortgage.
Traditionally 'money mules' were recruited through classified ads or email and whilst these methods are still being used criminals are now regularly using social media. Recent recruitment examples uncovered include Facebook posts on closed groups and through instant messaging apps encouraging people to reply if they have a certain bank account.
Intelligence suggests that students are more susceptible together with people who have just entered the country.
How to avoid this scam
- be cautious of approaches by email or social media promising an opportunity to make money
- verify any company making you a job offer and verify their contact details (address, phone number and email address) and whether they are registered in the UK
- be extra vigilant if the company is based overseas
- never give your bank account details to anyone before you have made all the above checks
- adverts for this type of job can be very enticing and may have professional looking websites set up
- if you feel that you have already become a victim of this scam then inform your bank immediately.