The UK’s Fraud Prevention Service, CIFAS, has warned that ‘money mule’ fraud is on increase.
So-called ‘facility fraud’ saw a 12% increase in the first 10 months of the year compared with the same period in 2010.
CIFAS says that although misuse of facility fraud is where an account, policy or other facility has been legitimately obtained but is later used fraudulently, a large proportion of the frauds display the hallmarks of ‘money mule’ activity where a fraudster recruits another (often innocent) party and uses his or her account to launder money on their behalf.
A rise of 7.5% in the misuse of bank accounts (of which 6% is an increase in the misuse of personal current accounts) during the first 10 months of 2011 demonstrates the scale of the rise, the service warns.
Accomplices can include those who know exactly what they are getting into, but also those who are innocently duped individuals. Then, under the guise of offering employment, seeking a personal favour, or through internet shopping sites and so on, the recruits are persuaded into receiving what are essentially fraudulent payments and then passing funds on. Frequently, a small ‘thank you’ or incentive is offered in the form of a payment for the service/costs/inconvenience incurred.
Richard Hurley, CIFAS communication manager, said: “Whether they are referred to as scams or frauds