Parents and carers across Surrey are being asked warn young people about the dangers and consequences of becoming a money mule.
What is a money mule?
A money mule is someone who transfers stolen money through their own bank account on behalf of someone else and is paid for doing so. Criminals need money mules to launder the profits of their crimes. Young people are increasingly being targeted to become money mules. They are approached online or in person, including through social media, at school, college or sports clubs. Sometimes people they know persuade them to take part, often because they are also acting as money mules.
Mules will usually be unaware of where the money comes from – commonly fraud and scams – and that it can go on to fund crimes such as drug dealing and people trafficking.
Being a money mule is illegal
When someone is caught, their bank account will be closed, and they will have problems getting student loans, mobile phone contracts and credit in the future. They could even face prison.
What to look out for
Tell-tale signs that someone might be involved could be them suddenly having extra cash, buying expensive new clothes or top-of-the-range mobile phones and gadgets with very little explanation as to how they got the money. They may also become more secretive, withdrawn or appear stressed.
You and your child can learn more and get advice by visiting www.moneymules.co.uk together.
If you are worried that someone close to you might be caught up in money muling, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Please do not attempt to contact any individual you suspect of organising money muling.