Criminal gangs are targeting teens on instagram, snapchat and other social media drawing them into money laundering.
Youngsters are bribed with cash and gifts or sometimes blackmailed and threatened to force them to under take the crimes.
Teens then allow money to be moved into and out of their bank accounts and criminals go on to use this money to fund more crimes like money laundering and people trafficking.
On Monday, September 16, Northumbria Police officers gave out letters to raise awareness of the consequences. of the scam as part of a wider campaign aiming to educate young people about the illegal practices of organised criminals.
Detective Chief Inspector Sharon Chatterton from Northumbria Police said: “One thing these greedy criminals all have in common is that they are determined to make money regardless of the consequences.
“We are working with our colleagues at the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) and a range of different partners, to seize assets, block accounts and effectively cut them off at the source.”
Detective Sergeant Paddy O Keefe is the regional development officer for fraud, he added: “Mules will usually be unaware of where the money comes from and that it can go on to fund crimes such as drug dealing and people trafficking.
“When someone is caught, their bank account will be closed and they will have problems getting student loans, mobile phone contracts and credit in the future. They could even face arrest for money laundering which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.
“Don’t be fooled, think about what someone is asking you to do – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Help us to prevent these criminals from continuing their harmful, illegal activities.”
Signs to look out for:
Suddenly having extra cash.
Buying expensive new clothes or mobile phones and gadgets with no explanation of where the money for them came from.
Seeming more secretive, withdrawn or stressed.
If you are worried that someone may be caught up in money muling, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.