People experiencing mental health issues are being recruited by fraudsters from within local communities to unknowingly become ‘money mules’, according to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.
The NFIB’s Proactive Intelligence Team has identified an increasing trend where people suffering mental health problems are recruited by fraudsters needing to launder funds they have obtained illegally.
Even if the money mule is not involved in the fraud to generate the money, they are still committing a crime.
The criminals carrying out this type of fraud are usually located abroad and recruit people by cold calling, sending emails or by posting fake job adverts.However, the NFIB team have found that fraudsters are now targeting vulnerable individuals on a personal level in order to carry out this crime.
How to protect yourself from becoming a money mule:
Be wary of unsolicited offers or opportunities offering you the chance to make some money.
Verify any company that makes you a job offer and check their contact details (address, landline phone number, email address and website) are correct and whether they are registered in the UK.
Do not respond to unsolicited emails or approaches.
If you are suspicious then Google the company name and check they have not scammed other people.
Beware of companies offering substantial “work from home” tasks requiring no experience.
No company should ask you to carry out financial transactions for them, using a bank account.
If something looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
Sarah Murphy, Head of Advice and Helplines at Rethink Mental Illness said: “The issue of financial abuse of people affected by mental illness in any form is always a concern, and we would recommend that if someone suspects it is happening, to contact the police. If you or someone you know are worried about being targeted in this way, you can also get in touch with the Rethink Mental Illness Advice and Information team at www.rethink.org/advice”.
If you think you might already be part of a money mule scam it is important that you act fast. Contact your bank and the police immediately.
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