MIDDLE-AGED people are being increasingly lured into acting as money mules to launder cash, experts have warned.
There was a 35 per cent increase in activity involving 40- to 60-year- olds last year, said fraud prevention service Cifas.
Money mules may be targeted through social media with the promise of being able to make easy cash.
Sometimes criminals pose as genuine employers advertising jobs.
A money mule shares their bank details, allowing cash to flow through their account and into other accounts, potentially so that other crimes can be committed. Fraudsters may target people without a criminal background as they are less likely to be suspected and may threaten them with violence if they try to stop. The mules risk prison or having their bank accounts closed.
There was an overall surge in money mule cases of 26 per cent last year compared with 2017, Cifas said.
It also found young adults and the over-60s bore the brunt of a rise in identity scams, with a record 189,108 cases recorded.
Cases involving victims aged 21 and under increased by 26 per cent, while those affecting the over-60s rose 34 per cent as the group increasingly goes online. Cifas head Mike Haley, said: ‘Fraud in the UK continues to rise and fraudsters are constantly finding new methods of committing fraud.
‘From identity theft through to using the young and naive as money mules to launder money, the economic and social harm to the nation is growing.’