The Neighbourhood Watch team who support fraud victims has alerted us to an apparent current increase in young adults whose bank accounts have been used for money laundering. The victims entered into what they believed was a genuine opportunity, but sadly this was not the case.
The victims have told us they had been in contact with someone offering an opportunity to learn about cryptocurrency and bitcoin.
In many cases, they had responded to an offer seen on social media. Once they engaged with the fraudster, they were persuaded to provide their bank details. Their bank accounts were then used for money laundering: money was moved into their account and then transferred onward. The money being transferred was the proceeds of crime.
Most victims were young adults and this has had a devastating impact on them. Their bank accounts have been frozen and they have been unable to open another account. The fraud Case Manager said that she has spoken to many young people who are reaching out in desperation for help after falling victim to this scam.
Money laundering is a crime. The criminal gangs involved often use the proceeds of crime to commit serious offences like drug and people trafficking, and terrorism. Banks have sophisticated systems to detect the suspicious moving of money. Not knowing it’s a crime is no excuse: your bank account will be closed, making it hard to get loans, mobile phone contracts or other financial products, and you could be prosecuted.
Protect yourself and your money
Be very cautious of unsolicited emails or approaches over social media promising opportunities to make easy money.
Never give your bank account details to anyone unless you know and trust them.
Verify any company that makes you an offer. Check their address, landline number, email and website and if they are registered in the UK.
For more advice, visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.