Unknowingly, almost one third of 18-30-year-olds could be’money muddling’

Almost six in 10 young adults would be open to making a bit of extra cash by accepting money into their bank account and transferring it on to someone else without being aware of where it came from – despite money laundering being illegal.

The study of 1,000 18-30-year-olds found 32 per cent could have unknowingly engaged in this activity known as ‘money muling’.

This type of fraud is being disguised as job adverts online offering an easy way to make quick money, where they keep a ‘commission’ after sending the funds elsewhere.

However, 78% of respondents don’t know what a money mule is. A quarter also think it is someone who tops cash machines up with money.

59% of respondents were unaware that this type of activity was illegal.

Another 15% believe money laundering involves either hanging money out to dry or putting it through the washer.

FiguresFrom fraud body Cifas shows there have been 18,626 cases linked to money mule activity from under 30’s so far this year, accounting for 62 per cent of all cases.

NatWest Honest Job Ad from Taylor HerringOn Vimeo.

Be aware of the potential consequences

The research was commissioned by NatWest to raise awareness of money muling – which sees their ‘honest job ad’ run across social media starring Perri Kiely as a ‘recruiter’ advertising the perks of being a money mule – showing the realities the criminals behind them don’t want you to know.

Stuart Skinner, fraud and scam expert at the bank, said: “Now more than ever, everyone is becoming more mindful of money, which is put under even more pressure by the increased outgoings during the festive season.

“We want to help young people be safe when it comes to their finances and make sure they are aware of the dangers that unfortunately exist in our society through money-muling and online scammers, so they know what to look out for.”

Four in 10 (39 per cent) young adults have been targeted by ‘quick money’ job ads on social media with 74 per cent seeing an increase in these type of adverts in the last two years

Of those surveyed, 91% said that the number of people they see has more or less doubled.

The survey shows that many young people don’t realize the consequences of being a money mule.

“Too good to be true”

Nearly eight in 10 (79 per cent) didn’t know you can go to prison and 81 per cent didn’t realise you would no longer be able to get a bank account.

89% of those surveyed didn’t know you could no longer take out a contract for a phone if caught.

With 59 per cent of young people feeling the pinch as they struggle to afford Christmas presents, the concern is they will be more easily drawn in by fraudulent ‘easy money’ schemes.

87% of those surveyed said that they would be open for ways to make extra cash to fund their holiday spending.

OnePoll polled just four out of 10 respondents and found that they are more open to online opportunities to make some extra cash due to the current cost-of-living crisis.

Perri Kiely, who also features in billboard-style posters showing some of the realities money mules could face if convicted, said: “It’s hard not to be tempted by the offer of quick cash and these types of ads which play on the supposed opportunity to make a little extra money – particularly during what are harder times for many people – are something I see all the time on my social media.

“Being part of this very honest job ad has taught me that, as the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

“We all need to be watchful for the signs and educate ourselves and everyone around us about how to avoid them.”

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