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Lloyds Bank issues alert as friends caught up in £10,000 scam | Personal Finance | Finance

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Sadly, scammers are stepping up their techniques and tactics to focus on unsuspecting victims. But there’s one form of scam which could see victims seriously affected themselves: money muling.

These people use their checking account to receive criminal money, either intentionally or without their knowledge.

Nevertheless, it is commonly money stolen through a scam and will include a serious punishment. 

Lloyds shared the story of Molly*, who received an unusual phone call from her friend Linda**, asking for help.

Linda had been contacted by a supposed Amazon representative, saying she was due a refund of £10,000 on some purchases.

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The caller said all Linda would want to do is download some software to one among her mobile or tablet devices for the refund to be processed.

Desperate to secure her refund, Linda took the steps as directed by the caller, and shortly enough the caller was capable of remotely access her device, and get Linda to assist with accessing her online banking.

When £10,000 appeared in her account, Linda was thrilled, however the caller said there was a problem and the payment would have to be rerouted to a couple of other accounts for it to be processed.

That is where Molly got here into the equation for the primary time.

The caller explained all Linda would need to do is to call Molly and tell her she’d been experiencing an “online banking problem”.

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Then Linda would want to offer Molly the main points of a 3rd account to maneuver the £10,000 to.

Molly, who desired to help her friend, agreed and when the cash arrived, she said she would make the transfer.

Nevertheless, she was unable to accomplish that, because the bank saw the red flags of those transactions.

It was identified Linda and Molly were getting used as money mules without their knowledge – and the payment was blocked from going any further.

The caller, who claimed to be reputable, was in reality a fraudster attempting to hide the proceeds of crime through layering and integration into the economic system.

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Linda and Molly were simply unwitting victims, and were later reported to the relevant authorities.

Nevertheless, Lloyds has warned even those unaware of the actual fact they’re moving stolen funds could face the complete force of the law.

Their website explained: “If caught moving stolen funds, money mules will probably be left with no checking account, a damaged credit rating and the shortcoming to use for a loan or perhaps a phone contract in the long run. 

“They might also find yourself with a 14 yr prison sentence for the crime.”

Research from the bank has shown fewer than half of those asked realise being asked to maneuver money through their account on behalf of another person may very well be the sign of a scam.

Since 2018, the bank has seized greater than £91million from mule accounts.

Money mules will be recruited in a myriad of how, including through social media posts, fake job adverts or targeted emails.

Because of this, it’s important for Britons to stay on guard and take lively steps to guard themselves from being targeted.

Liz Ziegler, consumer fraud and financial crime director at Lloyds, said: “Lots of the money mules we’ve caught had no idea they were engaging in criminal activity. 

“The promise of quick and straightforward money was enough to tempt them into moving money through their checking account in exchange for a fee or a cut of the funds.

“But behind all of those apparent get-rich-quick schemes are organised criminal gangs, eager to launder the money they’ve stolen, often from innocent scam victims. That’s why the penalties for becoming a money mule are so severe and might include a jail sentence.

“It’s vital that folks are aware of the warning signs and don’t get sucked into deals which look too good to be true. 

“No legitimate company will ever ask you to make use of your personal checking account to transfer their money, and the danger of getting caught is just too great.”

*, ** – Names have been modified to guard the identities of those involved.

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