Youths Warned Against Money Laundering

Police are warning of the dangers of becoming a money mule after the amount of teenagers misusing their bank accounts increased by 73% in just two years.

Parents, guardians and schools across Northern Ireland are urged to speak to the youths in their care about the risk of such activity in light of the shocking figures.

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, effectively implicating themselves in criminal activity.

Figures from Cifas show that in 2018 there were 5,819 cases of young people aged 14-18 using their bank accounts for money muling in the UK, a rise of 20% on the previous year (4,849 cases) and a 73% on 2016 (3,360 cases).

The PSNI, in partnership with Scamwise NI issued letters to all post primary schools, further education colleges and universities to warn teens with bank accounts against the activity, as pressures including the rise of social media expose them to fraudsters.

Allowing someone to use your bank account for fraud can result in a custodial sentence, a consequence that's lesser known among young people.

Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: "Young people are often unaware that acting as a money mule is illegal. They are often recruited through social media or approached to take part in person at school or college.

"It may seem like an easy way to make money, but as well as being illegal, being a money mule means you may also be helping to fund serious crimes such as drug dealing and people trafficking. If your bank account is used for money laundering, it can lead to you losing your account and you could find it extremely difficult to get access to a new one. This can cause difficulties in the future ranging from problems receiving genuine payments."

To spot the tell-tale signs that someone might be involved in money muling and for tips on how to stay safe, parents and guardians are urged to follow the advice below:

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• A young person involved in money muling may become more secretive, withdrawn or appear stressed.

Further information can be found online.

Chief Superintendent Walls concluded: "I would appeal to parents and guardians and ask them not to contact any individual they suspect of organising money muling instead they should contact Police on 101 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

08 February 2024
'Major Concerns' Young People Being Priced Out Of Education
The Alliance Party has raises "major concerns" that young people are being priced out of access to Higher and Further Education, following the release of NUS-USI's Cost of Living Survey.
17 January 2024
4 Corners Festival Bringing Young People Together Through Sports
This year's 4 Corners Festival is set to bring young people from local communities across Belfast together through the medium of sport. Now in its 12th year, the 4 Corners Festival was conceived as a way to inspire people from across the city to transform it for the peace and wellbeing of all.
15 February 2024
Other News In Brief
SDLP Welcomes Taoiseach's Commitment To A5 Project The SDLP has welcomed a commitment from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to increase funding for the A5 improvement project. The Taoiseach has said that he will be bringing an increased funding proposal to the cabinet next week.
26 January 2024
Alliance Urges People To Respond To Obesity Care Consultations
Highlighting a growth in childhood obesity during the pandemic, the Alliance Party has urged as many people as possible to respond to a Department of Health consultation on a Regional Obesity Management Service and Framework to Prevent Harm.
25 January 2024
People Urged To 'Celebrate Their Toilets'
People across Northern Ireland have been urged to "celebrate their toilets" on 'Thomas Crapper Day'(TCD), Saturday, 27 January. TCD is a celebration of the man who helped make the humble toilet a feature in every household and pioneered the ballcock within the toilet cistern that is still a feature today.