The UK Border Agency is officially warning people to be cautious and vigilant if they are offered schemes to make ‘easy money’ by transferring money into and out of their bank account.
Many international students and migrant workers are being targeted by gangs to become law breaking ‘money mules’ by laundering stolen money.
Criminals pretend to offer a genuine opportunity (often on the internet on via email) which involves receiving money into their bank account, and then transferring it to another account while keeping part of it as commission. But the money being transferred is stolen, and the transfer of it between accounts (i.e. ‘money laundering’) is illegal in the UK and most countries.
Recruits helping criminals transfer stolen money are known as ‘money mules’ or ‘money transfer agents’. The UK Border Agency warns that if you become involved in this activity, you can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
How to spot money mail fraud
You can identify a money mule fraud and take steps to protect yourself by following this simple advice:
- Be very cautious of unsolicited offers or opportunities to make easy money.
- If a company makes you a job offer, check that their contact details (address, phone number, email address and website) are correct, and find out whether they are registered in the UK.
- Be especially wary of job offers from people or companies overseas, as it will be harder for you to find out whether they are legitimate.
- Be suspicious of job advertisements that are written in poor English, with grammatical and spelling mistakes.
- Never give your bank account details to anyone unless you know and trust them.
For more advice and guidance, visit the Financial Fraud Action website.
Students and overseas workers need to be extra careful not to get dragged into criminal activity, such as money laundering and more obvious crimes such as people and drug trafficking.
Migrants travelling for the first time are especially vulnerable to traffickers and many end up in prison or worse still on death row.
The old adage still rings true: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
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