While many people may consider themselves to be aware of scam warning signs, that’s not to say that there’s zero risk of them falling into difficulty. In fact, a former fraudster has explained that there is a very easy way for criminals to get hold of a person’s bank details. And, the method in which they do it may not seem out of the ordinary for some online users. Tony Sales is one of very few people to have experience working at both the summit of organised crime, and the pinnacle of fraud and loss prevention, and has shared the warning.
The former scam artist now provides advice to some of the world’s leading brands on fraud and loss prevention strategies, and is Strategic Development Director at We Fight Fraud – an organisation addressing security risks for both business and individuals.
The fraud expert has now warned consumers about sharing their bank details while providing tips on how to avoid becoming a money mule.
It comes as there is an increase of money mules by 26 per cent in the last year alone – with 49 per cent of these people being under 25 years old, according to the CIFAS report Fraudscape 2019.
The Fraudscape 2019 report defines a money mule as an individual who allows their “bank account to be used to move criminal funds – money laundering”.
The crime can result in a criminal record and prison sentence of up to 14 years, but, according to new research released by Santander, 70 per cent of people are unaware of what a money mule is.
He said: “Fraudsters looking for money mules also operate on auction-style websites such as eBay, targeting victims by claiming they have paid twice for an item by accident and requesting that the money is transferred into a different bank account.
“No mistake, just another ploy to get hold of your bank details.”
Mr Sales also wanted that, in order to avoid becoming a money mule, it could be important to take extra care at what one perceives online.
He said: “Be wary of accounts belonging to apparently glitzy users, offering an equally glamorous lifestyle at just a drop of a hat.
“Don’t be fooled; life behind bars is anything but glam.”
Emotional extortion is another thing to watch out for, the fraud expert advised.
“Fraudsters prey on your emotions, luring you in with everything from the promise of money to help with a family emergency, to a means to fund your latest trainer obsession. Be on your guard,” he said.
“It’s not charity, it’s just another way to scam you.”
Taking extra care to ensure that things such as job adverts are legitimate could be important for protecting one’s bank details too, Mr Sales said.
“Verify the vacancy: a job that looks too good to be true probably is – so play detective and double check.
“Always take a look at the company’s website to ensure they exist.
“Fake job adverts advertising ‘mystery shoppers’ or ‘payment processing agents’, are just more ways that money launderers get hold of your bank details.”
Mr Sales also highlighted that it’s not just online where fraudsters can operate.
“Fraudsters don’t only prey online under the auspices of anonymous social media handles.
“They also recruit in person, such as waiting outside school gates offering children the promise of free food or goods in exchange for bank details. Stay alert and report any suspicions you might have.”