Money muling

In an increasingly digital world, protecting your financial information against fraudsters has never been more important. One type of fraud that’s become more common since this digitalisation is money muling.

Money muling is a type of money laundering. It happens when fraudsters recruit people (or ‘mules’) to move money on their behalf — typically by receiving funds from illegal activities like phishing, scams or identity theft, which they transfer to the fraudsters.

In recent years, fraudsters have moved online to recruit money mules. They usually lure people in through attractive job ads, which often target students and young people who are digitally savvy and keen to earn money online. In fact, according to Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud-prevention service, 1 in 5 money mules are under 21.

The recruits are usually unaware of their involvement in criminal activities — they think that they’re taking part in legitimate financial transactions. But unfortunately, money muling is a criminal offence, and by not reporting their suspicions to their bank and the police as soon as possible, money mules could face up to 14 years in prison if they’re caught. Not only this, being a money mule could have long-term impacts on their finances. They may find it hard to find a job with a criminal record, and their links to financial fraud may make it difficult to get a phone contract, take out loans or apply for a mortgage.

How to avoid becoming a money mule

Here are some tips to protect yourself from fraudsters:

  • Be skeptical of unsolicited job offers

Criminals often use fake job postings or work-from-home opportunities to recruit mules. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Research potential employers and job opportunities thoroughly before accepting any offers.

  • Never share your bank account details

Be cautious about sharing your bank account information with anyone, especially if they ask you to receive funds on their behalf. Legitimate companies won’t ask to use your personal bank account for their own transactions.  

  • Verify the legitimacy of financial transactions

Be cautious of incoming funds and their sources. If a transaction seems suspicious, contact your bank to confirm the legitimacy of the funds before transferring or withdrawing money.

  • Educate yourself on financial fraud

Keep up to date on the latest scams, phishing attempts and fraud tactics. Knowledge is key when it comes to avoiding fraudsters.

What to do if you think you might have been approached to be a money mule

If you think you might be involved in a mule muling scheme or notice anything suspicious, you should report it to your bank, the local police and Action Fraud immediately. Reporting your concerns quickly could help prevent further fraudulent transactions and protect you from legal action.

For more information on money muling, visit the Money Mules website.

How to report fraud

If you think you might have been a victim of fraud or notice a suspicious transaction on your Zopa account, please get in touch. 


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