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Police Warn Schools About Money Mule Recruiters

Scottish police have written to every secondary school in the country warning parents and guardians that pupils are increasingly being recruited by cybercrime gangs as money mules.

Young people are typically approached online via social media ads or even WhatsApp messages, according to reports.

“People are enticed in with the belief it’s quick, easy money and assured nothing will happen to them. If you do enter into this agreement, you are breaking the law. It is a criminal offence and the effect on your life can be huge,” warned detective inspector Graeme Everest of the Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Unit (OCCTU).

“The fraudsters involved in orchestrating mule accounts are often from serious organized crime groups and any involvement with them can be dangerous. There are victims affected by fraud across Scotland and this can have a devastating effect on people financially and emotionally. It isn’t a victimless crime and by laundering money gained from these victims, you are playing a part in this."

Money mules could be handed a sentence of up to 14 years behind bars for laundering funds on behalf of criminal gangs.

Yet the number of young people being recruited into this burgeoning part of the cybercrime underground is increasing.

Anti-fraud non-profit Cifas reported a 26% rise in reports of money mules aged 21 and under between 2017 and October 2018. In the first 10 months of last year alone, 9,636 money mule perpetrators under the age of 21 were identified in the UK by Cifas members.

“Money laundering is an insidious crime which helps criminals prosper from their illegal conduct,” argued Andrew Laing, deputy procurator fiscal for specialist casework.

““Parliament has viewed money laundering as a serious offence and offences of money laundering can attract long custodial sentences. [We have] been working closely with the police, other law enforcement agencies and the banks and we will take robust action against any person involved in money laundering where there is sufficient evidence to do so.”

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