are being recruited, sometimes unwittingly, as “mules” by criminals to
transfer illegally obtained money between different bank accounts.
What is a money mule? A
money mule is someone who is recruited by those needing to launder money
obtained illegally. Criminals advertise fake jobs in newspapers and on
the internet in a number of ways, usually offering opportunities to make
money quickly, in order to lure potential money mule recruits. These
Social media posts Copying genuine company’s websites to create impression of legitimacy Sending mass emails offering employment Targeting individuals that have posted their CVs on employment websites
are particularly susceptible to adverts of this nature. For someone in
full-time education, the opportunity for making money quickly can
understandably be an attractive one. The mule will accept money into
their bank account, before following further instructions on what to do
with the funds. Instructions could include transferring the money into a
separate specified account or withdrawing the cash and forwarding it on
via money transfer service companies like Western Union or MoneyGram.
The mule is generally paid a small percentage of the funds as they pass
through their account.
Laundering is a criminal offence which can lead to prosecution and a
custodial sentence. Furthermore, it can lead to the mule being unable to
obtain credit in the UK and prevented from holding a bank account.
Protect Yourself Be aware that the offence of money laundering carries a maximum prison sentence, in the UK, of 14 years. Never give the details of your bank account to anyone that you do not trust. No
legitimate company will ever ask you to use your own bank account to
transfer their money. Don’t accept any job offers that ask you to do
wary of unsolicited emails or social media posts promising ways of
earning easy money. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t
be afraid to question the legitimacy of any businesses that make you a
job offer, especially if the recruitment procedure strays from the