The British Government has advised people to be wary of allowing third party to use their bank accounts to send money to the United Kingdom.
The National Crime Agency, via its verified Twitter handle @NCA_UK, gave the warning on Sunday.
The British government agency, which leads the UK’s fight to cut serious and organised crime, said foreign students in UK universities are especially susceptible.
“Letting someone use your bank account to move money is money laundering.
“Earlier this year, 95 bank accounts — containing more than £3m — were frozen by UK law enforcement coordinated by the National Economic Crime Centre.
“Access to the money was denied and investigations undertaken because it was suspected that some or all of the funds were linked to money laundering.
“To date, approximately £1million of this money has been forfeited following court hearings.” It states that the majority of the accounts frozen belonged to international students studying in the UK; while further investigation found that the overseas students, complicit or not, were targeted and used as ‘money mules’ to launder funds through UK accounts.
Head of Operations at the National Economic Crime Centre, Matt Bradford, said: “Allowing someone to use your bank account for a cut may seem like an easy way to earn some money over Christmas and New Year, but it has consequences.
“Banks have systems to identify this activity, they will report to the police or take their own action.
“Although these messages are targeted towards students, their parents and university staff – it is important to remember anyone can become involved in this.
“Acting as a money mule is money laundering, a crime, and can happen with or without the account holder’s knowledge.
“This can lead to problems, and, at worst, a criminal record which could impact on the career students are working so hard to achieve.”
In addition, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, Katy Worobec, said: “No matter what age you are, we urge you not to give your bank account details to anyone unless you know and trust them.
“Letting your bank account be used to transfer money given to you by someone else makes you a money mule and when you’re caught your bank account will be closed.
“The banking industry works closely with law enforcement to identify, arrest and charge those criminal gangs responsible for recruiting money mules and to raise awareness among susceptible groups.”