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Criminals may ask you to receive money into your bank account and transfer it into another account, keeping some of the cash for yourself. If you let this happen, you’re a money mule. You’re involved in money laundering, which is a crime.

You might be approached by criminals online or in person. They might post on social media what looks like a genuine job ad, then ask for your bank details, ask to use your bank account or want you to let them apply for bank cards that are in your name.

Once you become a money mule, it can be hard to stop. You could be attacked or threatened with violence if you don’t continue to let your account be used.

Don’t Be Fooled by offers of quick cash.

You should never open a bank account in your name for someone else, allow your bank account to be used to send and receive funds for other people or share your PINs, passwords or passcodes with anyone unless you know and trust them.

Criminals need money mules to launder the profits of their crimes which not only include fraud and scams but also serious crimes such as terrorism, people and drug trafficking and tax crimes. Mules will usually be unaware of where the money comes from or where it goes.

Tell-tale signs that someone might be involved could be them suddenly having extra cash, buying expensive new clothes or top-of-the-range mobile phones and gadgets with very little explanation as to how they got the money. They may also become more secretive, withdrawn or appear stressed.

If you are worried that you or someone close to you might be caught up in money muling, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Translation services are available on request.

When you’re caught:

You could be putting you family at risk.

You could be dismissed from university, find it hard to access further student loans and gain future employment in the UK.

It will be difficult to get a phone contract.

Your bank account will be closed and you will have problems applying for credit.

You could go to prison for up to 14 years.