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Data exclusively revealed on BBC’s Crimewatch Live shows 78% year-on-year increase in under 21s taking part in money mule activity

15 September 2021

New data from Cifas, exclusively revealed today on the BBC’s Crimewatch Live, shows ‘Generation Covid’ are being specifically targeted with ‘get rich quick’ schemes on social media to become money mules.

Cifas, the not-for-profit cross-sector fraud prevention organisation, exclusively revealed today on the BBC’s Crimewatch Live:

  • A 78% year-on-year increase in accounts of people aged under 21 bearing the hallmarks of money mule activity, and
  • A 76% year-on-year increase in accounts of people aged between 21 to 30 bearing the hallmarks of money mule activity, compared to
  • A small 26% increase in accounts of people ages over 30 bearing the hallmarks of money mule activity

The increase is a comparison of accounts filed to the National Fraud Database bearing the hallmarks of money mule activity from the first half of 2020 versus to the first half of 2021.

Notes to editor

A money mule is an individual who allows their bank account to be used to transfer money to be used in the proceeds of crime, and it is a criminal offence which can result in up to 14 years in prison.

Money mules are paid by criminals to hide cash made from illegal activity, and many don’t realise they’re involved in criminality.

Amber Burridge, Head of Fraud Intelligence, at Cifas appeared live on BBC One at 10am on Wednesday, 15th September to explain how ‘Generation Covid’ are being disproportionately targeted against older age groups through ‘get rich quick’ schemes via social media advertising.

Amber Burridge said: “In the first six months of this year, Cifas members recorded a 76% rise in those aged 21 to 30 involved in this type of activity and, more concerningly, a 78% increase in those aged under 21. When we think about how the last eighteen months have been for a number of us, there are a higher proportion of individuals now looking for work. Over half of those who dropped off the UK payroll between March 2020 and April 2021 were under the age of 25.

“Two-thirds of the UK population now use social media as a way to communicate with each other. This activity is being marketed in such a way that it doesn’t seem illegal and we know from previous research that a quarter of those aged between 18-34 think that money muling is a reasonable behaviour.”

Notes to editor

Number of accounts bearing the hallmarks of money mule acitivity (January - June)

 
Age 2020 2021 Change (%)
<21 3,962 7,033 78%
21 - 30 8,107 14,289 76%

 

 

 

For further information:

Matt Pearson, Press & PR Manager, Cifas
020 4551 7956 / matthew.pearson@cifas.org.uk

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Posted by: Cifas Press Team
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Posted by: Cifas Press Team

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