Scammers are targeting people looking for work or to earn easy money during the pandemic, by posting fake adverts on jobs websites and social media.
According to figures released by CIFAS, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, there were over 17,000 suspected money mule cases involving 21-30 year olds in 2020, up five per cent on the previous year.
Money muling is when fraudsters recruit innocent people to transfer stolen money overseas using the victim’s bank account. This money has often been obtained illegally and the ‘mule’ is asked to receive the stolen money into their account and told to send the money overseas using a wire transfer service, keeping some for themselves.
The public is being urged to be wary of any offers of earning quick and easy cash online. Money muling could lead to a criminal record, the closure of your bank account and difficulty getting a mobile phone contract. Cash laundered by money mules is used by criminals to facilitate serious crimes such as terrorism, drug trafficking and people smuggling.
Young people whose job prospects have been impacted by the pandemic are being especially targeted online, by criminals looking to recruit money mules to launder the profits of their crimes.
The criminals will typically post adverts on legitimate jobs websites or social media, using terms such as ‘money transfer agents’ or ‘local processors’ to recruit people to launder the profits of their crimes.
For advice on protecting yourself from fraud visit Action Fraud.