The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’s (NFIB) Proactive Intelligence Team is issuing a warning concerning accountancy firms and solicitors being targeted to launder the proceeds of crime.
Fraudsters are placing adverts online to attract small or struggling firms that they believe are more likely to be manipulated.
After a short period of time recruiting a firm to undertake general accountancy work, the fraudsters use their business banking facilities to transfer and launder money.
According to a convicted fraudster recently interviewed by the team: “A lot of these dodgy investment firms will put adverts on Gumtree or Totaljobs recruiting for accountancy services and solicitors to provide book keeping and general accounts work.”
“If I was going back into the business that’s what i would do – target the small accountants and solicitors as they get caught up in the moment and don’t realise the extent of due diligence needed”.
People recruited by criminals to help transfer stolen money are known as ‘money mules’, or ‘money transfer agents’. The Solicitors Regulation Authority says that providing banking facilities through a client account is objectionable in itself.
You should always carry out ‘customer due diligence’ measures to check that your customers are who they say they are.
This warning comes during our Urban Fraud Myths campaign, where on day four we focussed on money mules. The campaign lets people know the reality behind some common fraud myths and possible ways to avoid falling into the fraudsters trap.
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.