Beware of money-muling scams

A person holding a wallet and money at a cash machine.

Criminals are increasingly targeting students to recruit them as money mules.

Money muling involves you allowing your bank account to be used to help someone transfer illegal funds from one place to another, in return for a financial incentive.

As a result, students may unwittingly become involved in money laundering - a serious criminal offence with a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

Students are viewed as susceptible to money muling as they are often away from home for the first time, in a new country, or looking for ways to earn cash.

How can I protect myself?

  • Be suspicious of job adverts that offer the chance to earn quick and easy money. Stick to reputable job sites, such as the Brookes JobShop, and remember that if something looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Don't sign up for any opportunity to earn money without undertaking some proper research. Does the employer have an online presence? Are the contact details legitimate? Is it based overseas?
  • Don't engage with any online posts offering large sums of money.
  • Don't accept message requests from people you don't know, and if you receive a message with a link to click from a friend, speak to them in person before you respond.
  • Don't share bank and personal details with anyone you don't know or trust - even among friends or family. If someone asks to 'borrow' your bank account, say no.
  • Always remember that if you aren't sure about the source of the money, it could have come from criminal activity, and you could unwittingly be laundering money and end up with a criminal conviction.

What should I do if I'm approached?

If you or someone you know has been approached, break off all contact with the person who approached you, don't receive or move any money, and ask for advice from someone you trust.

You can report it by:

  • calling local police on 101, or 999 in an emergency
  • contacting the HMRC Fraud Hotline quoting reference: IFMM24 (you can remain anonymous if you want to)
  • contacting the independent charity CrimeStoppers 100% anonymously online or by calling 0800 555 111 (quoting reference: IFMM24)
  • reporting it to social media companies if you see it online.
Find out about other types of scam and fraud, and how to protect yourself.