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Action Fraud warns the public after fraudsters reveal tricks of the trade

A convicted fraudster has revealed to the City of London Police’s Proactive Intelligence Team how criminal gangs are recruiting unsuspecting members of the public as Money Mules as way to launder the proceeds of crime, the fraudster said:

“Adverts are placed in foreign newspapers to recruit people to come to the UK and open fraudulent bank accounts. 

“They are described as “no experience necessary, all expenses paid working holiday in London.” 

Money Mules continue to be used as a key facilitator of fraud and are used as a way to evade detection from the police. 

A money mule is someone that is recruited by a criminal or a group of criminals to sometimes unwittingly transfer illegally obtained money, between different bank accounts. Money mules receive the stolen  funds into their account and they are then asked to withdraw it and wire the money to a different account, often to one overseas, keeping some of the money for themselves.

As soon as the mule involves themselves in this activity they are linking themselves to something that could see them spending 14 years in jail.

In an assessment conducted by the Home Office it was found that serious organised crime cost the UK 24 billion in 2013 and it is now thought to be even higher and it is known that money mules have a large part to play in this. 

City of London Police’s Commander Chris Greany who is the Police National Coordinator for Economic Crime said: “The City of London Police has recently been working with the National Crime Agency (NCA) on a large operation which saw over 700 money mules being identified across Europe and 81 individuals arrested. This proactive work highlights the extent of this type of criminality and how easy it can be for people sometimes to unknowingly get involved in organised crime. 

“We will continue to build on our relationship with the NCA and European law enforcement to ensure that money mules are prevented from fostering a cycle of illegal activity. We urge people to follow our advice and protect themselves from crooks who are looking to involve people in their web of criminality. Getting involved in such activity could result in years spent behind bars”. 

Behaviours that put you at risk of becoming a money mule

  • Responding to job adverts, or social media posts that promise large amounts of money for very little work. 
  • Failing to research a potential employer, particularly one based overseas, before handing over your personal or financial details to them.
  • Allowing an employer, or someone you don’t know and trust, to use your bank account to transfer money.

How to protect yourself

  • No legitimate company will ever ask you to use your own bank account to transfer their money. Don’t accept any job offers that ask you to do this. 
  • Be especially wary of job offers from people or companies overseas as it will be harder for you to find out if they really are legitimate.
  • Never give your financial details to someone you don’t know and trust.

To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.

You can now also sign up for free to Action Fraud Alert to receive direct, verified, accurate information about scams and fraud in your area by email, recorded voice and text message.

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