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Millions transferred through money mule accounts in first half of year

The figure is an increase of 50% on the same period in 2022.

Almost €17.5 million was transferred through ‘money mule’ accounts in the first half of 2023, new figures have shown.

The figure is an almost 50% increase on the same period for 2022.

A ‘money mule’ account is one which recieves money earned through criminal activity, and transfers it into another account.

The majority of accounts used belonged to people between the ages of 18 and 24, with some as young as 15.

As the academic year begins, FraudSMART – a fraud awareness initiative developed by the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland – has warned students to be vigilant of the risks of being recruited as a money mule.

Niamh Davenport, Head of Financial Crime at BFPI, said: “Criminals frequently target young adults, usually recruiting them through social media ads and messages, but they are also known to approach young people in-person outside schools, colleges, or sports clubs.”

“The money transferred by money mules are proceeds of crime, often stolen from innocent victims of text message scams and other types of fraud that our own friends and family can fall victim to.

“Not only that, but the money being laundered is often used by criminals to facilitate other serious crimes such as terrorism, drug trafficking and people smuggling. This is why the consequences faced for money muling are so serious and can result in a criminal record.”

Colette Murphy, USI Vice President for Welfare, said that “the college term is an exciting time for many students, but it is often also a time of increased financial pressure, and we understand the temptation of offers to earn ‘quick and easy money’.

“Getting caught up in money mulling can have a long-term impact on your future. It could affect your ability to get loans or to travel to many places, including to Australia or on a J1.

“We want to make sure students are aware of the risks of being coerced, conned, or tempted into working with fraudsters through social media posts or seemingly legitimate job adverts.”

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