Friday, 4 February 2011

Money Mule - one woman's narrow escape.

Money mules use their private bank accounts to launder dodgy money for fraudsters. The funds often come from phishing scams, where criminals based overseas send fake emails to online bank customers. They trick the customers into parting with their account details.
For the scam to succeed, the fraudster needs a UK-based mule to receive money into his or her bank account, then withdraw it and send it overseas using a commercial money transfer service.

The banks have put out a fraud alert in the London Borough of Newham (see my BBC report), where they are monitoring over 1,500 suspicious bank accounts. They could belong to money mules.

23 year-old Barbara Gyami from Newham told me how she had a lucky escape...

"I am currently unemployed and I registered with jobsites and agencies. I received junk email. Six or seven were from a particular address. They said they had a particular job and that I would have to give them my bank account details.
I would only be working for 5 to 6 hours a week and I'd be paid between £1,500 and £2,000 a week. It sounded too good to be true. They had said that I would have to handle £6,000 a week in my account.
I emailed them back and they replied with a contract attached. Then I contacted my job adviser. She said I should be very vigilant.
I phoned their number and no one answered. I thought: how come you haven't got any offices or anyone to answer the phone?
I didn't know what they might have done with my account. They're still sending me emails.
Then Newham Council called me. They were doing a survey about these people. They told me it was illegal."

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