Anti-fraud body Financial Fraud Action UK has issued a warning on the risks associated with acting as a money mule for fraudsters after a 26-year-old man was sentenced to a 12-month community order and 280 hours of unpaid work.
He was found to have willingly allowed his bank accounts to be used to receive over £9,800 in March 2016 on behalf of fraudsters, followed by another £18,000 of fraudulently obtained funds in June of the same year. The defendant’s phone revealed exchanges of text messages with the fraudsters, giving up use of his accounts, cards and online banking in exchange for a ‘cut’.
This case comes amid a significant rise in money mule fraud in recent years, with figures published by Cifas showing cases involving 18 to 24-year olds have more than doubled since 2013.
The case was referred onto the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) after one of the fraudsters’ victims reported a suspected fraudulent transaction to their bank. All victims were fully refunded.
“This case serves as a stark warning that those who allow their bank account to be used by fraudsters will be caught and punished,” commented Detective Constable David Hughes, of the DCPCU.
“Acting as a money mule is a crime which will leave you with a criminal record and a potential prison sentence,” he said. “Those caught will also have their bank account closed and face difficulties opening one elsewhere.”
“Young people should remember that no legitimate company will ever ask you to use your own bank account to transfer their money,” he added. “If an offer of easy money sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
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