UK payments association Apacs is warning of a rise in the number of 'money mule' recruitment adverts, where criminals attempt to lure bank account holders into illegally transferring funds across borders.
Criminals living overseas recruit mules to send them their money because most online bank accounts in the UK do not allow customers to make cross-border transfers.
Mules are snared through spam e-mails, spoof Web sites, adverts on real job recruitment boards or even in national newspapers. After being recruited by the fraudsters, money mules receive funds into their accounts which they then withdraw and send overseas using a wire transfer service, minus a commission.
Apacs says it detected 873 fake 'job' adverts in the first half of 2008, up 33% on last year.
Sandra Quinn, director of communications, Apacs, says: "We urge consumers to be cautious about any unsolicited offers or opportunities offering the chance to make some easy money. By allowing your bank account to be used to receive and transfer funds, you will be acting illegally, even if you have had nothing to do with the actual theft of funds from another person's account."