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News - 28 February 2013

Money laundering and jobseekers

According to Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) a job scheme that recruits people with the sole purpose of laundering cash for criminal gangs is growing. The scheme recruits ordinary members of the public through online job adverts and is laundering thousands of pounds to criminal gangs.

Up to 15% of adults in the UK have been targeted by the set-up, which could land participants with a jail sentence.

Criminals specifically target people on low-incomes, such as students, the unemployed and recent immigrants, warned FFA UK.

Almost half of students and new entrants to the UK approached by the scheme have considered the ‘job offer’. One in five students approached has accepted the work.

The fake job adverts, often for positions such as ‘money transfer agent’ or ‘payment processing agent’, turn participants into unsuspecting money mules.

After accepting the job, the so-called agent receives money into their bank account and is then asked to transfer the cash to another account. The ‘worker’ is allowed to keep a percentage of the funds.

But, the money received is generally stolen or illegally gained, often through fraud on bank accounts, and is being laundered to overseas bank accounts.

Stuart Coleman, Money Laundering and Fraud Reporting Officer at ABDS comments:
“People should be aware that unsolicited emails promising opportunities to make easy money are often too good to be true. The adverts are often written in poor English with grammatical and spelling mistakes and normally masquerade as an overseas company seeking ‘UK representatives’ or ‘agents’ to act on their behalf for a period of time, sometimes to avoid high transaction charges or local taxes.”

Other rules to follow are:

  • always check a company’s contact details (address, landline phone number, email address and website) are correct and whether they are registered in the UK
  • adverts or offers may even copy a genuine company’s website and have a similar web address to make the scam seem authentic
  • Never give your bank account details to anyone unless you know and trust them
  • If you have already disclosed your bank account details or received money into your account that you think could be a money mule scam, contact your bank immediately

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