Kent parents warned - Don't be fooled and let your kid become a money mule!

Contributed by editor on Sep 16, 2019 - 02:30 PM


Parents and guardians are being asked to help raise awareness among young people of the dangers of becoming ‘money mules’.  

Money mules are people who allow others to access their bank accounts in exchange for a cut of the criminal funds placed there, which in itself is a form of money-laundering.

In 2018 there were 136 cases of young people under the age of 18 using their bank accounts for money muling in Kent, which is an increase of 86% from the 73 cases recorded in 2016.

As part of the national Don’t Be Fooled campaign, Kent Police will be contacting schools to warn parents and guardians of the risks associated with this crime type.

Detective Sergeant Marc Cananur of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: ‘We are fully supportive of the national campaign and hope it will strike a chord with the young people it is targeted at, whose futures may be severely affected if they are drawn into this type of criminal activity.

‘Those who do allow others to access their bank accounts risk having them closed, making it more difficult to obtain student loans, mobile phone contracts or other financial products.

‘Most law-abiding residents would never even consider being involved in drug-dealing, fraud or other serious offences, but if they are helping to launder the money of the criminals who are then they are not free from responsibility.’

The Don’t Be Fooled campaign is being run by UK Finance and the fraud prevention service Cifas, who have released figures showing there were 5,819 cases of young people aged 14-18 using their bank accounts for money muling in the UK in 2018. This is a rise of 20% from 2017 (4,849 cases) and 73% from 2016 (3,360 cases).

Young people are often unaware that acting as a money mule is illegal. They are approached to take part online or in person, including through social media, at school, college or sports clubs.

Cifas chief executive Mike Haley said: ‘The increasing use of social media means that young people have never been more vulnerable to becoming victims of fraud.

‘Many youngsters are unaware of the devastating consequences that fraud can have on their future opportunities, and so teachers, parents and carers can play an important role here by ensuring young people have the necessary knowledge and skills to prevent them from unwittingly falling victim to fraud, or even becoming perpetrators themselves.’

To spot the tell-tale signs that someone might be involved in money muling and for tips on how to stay safe, parents and guardians are urged to follow the advice of the Don’t Be Fooled campaign:

· Make sure your child doesn't give their bank account details to anyone unless they know and trust them.
· Tell them to be cautious of unsolicited offers of easy money, because if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
· Look out for your child suddenly having extra cash, buying expensive new clothes or electronics with very little explanation as to how they got the money.
· A young person involved in money muling may become more secretive, withdrawn or appear stressed.
· Parents and guardians are advised not to attempt to contact any individual they suspect of organising money muling and should instead contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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