Money mules

Young people might be asked to put money in their bank account by a friend, or through someone they have met online. They might be offered to keep some of the money, just for putting it into their account and then drawing or transferring it out again.

This is sometimes known as squaring, money laundering or being a money mule. It might sound harmless and young people might see it as an easy way to make a bit of cash, but it could actually be linked to serious crime and could have real consequences for their future.

Criminals who make money through crime such as drugs, guns, human trafficking and fraud, often use people to hold or move their money for them as a way of hiding the crime.  They will persuade young people that there is nothing wrong with doing this and that they're just doing them a favour.  They might give them money for helping them out.

The police and banks look out for unusual activity in everyone’s accounts and will soon spot transactions that looks suspicious.  If anyone is found to be putting money in their account or transferring it for someone else, then you they get into trouble, even if they genuinely didn’t know where the money came from.

Consequences can include not being able to access credit in the future, including mobile phone contracts, credit or store cards, or a mortgage, or even be refused a bank account.  Even more seriously, they could get a criminal record and go to jail for up to 14 years.

 

Tips & advice

People often become money mules without realising it.  They might think they aren’t doing anything wrong, but end up being involved in money laundering and fraud.

Talk to your child about how to avoid this and what they should be aware of:

  • Never give your bank account details to anyone unless you know and trust them.
  • Be wary of job offers where all interactions and transactions will be done online.
  • Be suspicious of offers of easy money.  If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.

If you are worried that your child has been targeted as part of this crime, contact your bank as soon as possible, they have specialist teams who will be able to help you.

You can also contact the police or other organisations who can provide assistance:
In a non-emergency contact the police on 101.
If a crime is in progress or there is a danger to life call 999.
You can also speak to West Yorkshire Police online via Live Chat on: https://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/101LiveChat

If you would rather not contact the police you can call –
Crimestoppers (you can speak to Crimestoppers anonymously) – 0800 555 111