Be wary of Money Muling – the job offer that could land you in prison

A money mule or “smurfer” is someone who transfers illegally acquired money on behalf of others either in person, by courier or electronically. In return, the money mule is often paid a small amount of the money transferred. It almost seems like a quick and easy way to earn some extra cash, especially if offers are disguised as genuine job ads.

BUT it is illegal, even if you didn’t steal the money yourself! If you partake in money muling, you are committing a crime. Authorities do not care if you legitimately thought you were taking on a genuine job; you are as guilty of money laundering as the people who initially stole the money you are concealing for them.

The consequences

In 2017, there were over 8,500 cases of money muling in the UK, and the figures continue to increase. Barclays is one of a number of banks and organisations raising awareness of the dangers and consequences of money muling for students. If you’re caught money muling:

Your bank account will be closed (making it difficult to get student loans, phone contracts and other financial products)

You’ll face problems when applying for credit (like a mortgage)

You could face up to 14 years in prison.

Doesn’t sound so appealing now, does it?

How do I avoid it?

Here’s Barclays’ advice to become more vigilant and recognise dodgy and illegitimate job offers:

• Be cautious when offered jobs asking for your bank details and promising quick, easy cash. If it looks too good to be true, it most likely is. Fake job ads will probably be written in poor English, with numerous spelling and grammatical errors.

• Check and verify the company’s details you are dealing with to make sure they are legitimate.

• Contact your bank immediately if you think your account is at risk to fraud or if you think you have been involved in a money mule scheme.

The main thing is to be vigilant and wary of unexpected job offers that you find difficult to verify and that ask for your bank details. Even your own bank will not ask you for your secure bank details.

For more information, advice and contact details of organisations that can help you, check out this website: moneymules.co.uk.

Stay safe!

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