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Jump in young teenagers used as 'money mules'

Jump in young teenagers used as 'money mules'

Published by Emma Carton at 10:17am 17th October 2019. (Updated at 11:20am 17th October 2019)

Parents in Cornwall are being urged to warn their children about the dangers of becoming a 'money mule'.

That is where a person is paid to transfer stolen cash through their own bank account for someone else.

Police say victims are approached online or in person, including through social media and at school.

Nationwide, cases involving young teenagers (14 to 18-year-olds) rose to almost 6,000 last year.

Now officers across the Duchy and Devon are getting in touch with schools and colleges to help raise awareness.

What is the warning from police?

"In a four year investigation into nationwide large scale fraud Devon and Cornwall Police, involving adults embroiled in money laundering, we found the predominant feature for many of the people suspected of money laundering was a naïve understanding of where money had come from when it appeared in their bank account.

"Some would turn a blind eye for a cut of the money or sometimes sell the bank account to someone without asking why. 

"Some were completely fooled into thinking they were doing a ‘friend’ a favour by lending their account details and security information. 

"To be clear, when someone asks to borrow or use your bank account, they will be doing it for the purpose of hiding stolen money that is often stolen from very vulnerable victims or from the proceeds of drug trafficking and the like.  

"Don't do it, it's illegal - you could end up being arrested whilst someone somewhere will be profiting from the exploitation of the vulnerable".

Inspector John Shuttleworth, Devon and Cornwall Police

How can I tell if someone is involved in 'money muling'?

Follow the advice of the Don't Be Fooled campaign to spot the tell-tale signs that someone might be involved in money muling and for tips on how to stay safe:

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A young person involved in money muling may become more secretive, withdrawn or appear stressed.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.

You can watch more advice below...

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