Organised criminals are turning to social media to recruit members of the public to act as unsuspecting money mules for laundering dirty cash.
Traditionally, money mules were recruited through job adverts and online postings or sometimes through criminals directly approaching their victim in person or through email.
Whilst these methods are still being used, Financial Fraud Action UK’s (FFA UK) intelligence unit has warned that criminal networks are now also using social media to recruit mules. Recent examples have included Facebook posts on closed groups, or messages sent through instant messaging apps such as BBM, which typically encourage people to contact the sender if they hold a particular bank account.
The mules are told that they are taking a legitimate job using such titles as ‘money transfer agent’ and are offered a cut of the funds that pass through their account.
Intelligence suggests that students are most susceptible to the approach, as well as some newcomers to the UK who are often directly targeted soon after arriving in the country.
Commenting, Katy Worobec, director of FFA UK, says: “An online posting or job advert which claims you can make easy money and asks for details of your bank account is highly likely to have been posted by criminals trying to recruit money mules. The consequences of letting criminals transfer money through your account are very serious - this is an imprisonable offence, and can bring with it the prospect of losing access to bank accounts and mortgages."