Parents asked to help stop the national rise in child “money mules”

Parents and guardians in Devon and Cornwall are being urged to warn their children about the dangers of becoming a money mule, with national figures revealing the number of 14-18-year olds misusing their bank accounts has risen by 73 per cent in two years.

A money mule is someone who transfers stolen money through their own bank account on behalf of someone else and is paid for doing so. Criminals use money mules to launder the profits of their crimes.

Young people are often unaware that acting as a money mule is illegal, not being aware of the provenance of the money going through their accounts. They are approached to take part online or in person, including through social media, at school, college or sports clubs.

As part of the Don’t Be Fooled awareness campaign, Devon and Cornwall Police is contacting schools in its area to warn parents and guardians of the risks of their children becoming a money mule.

Figures from Cifas, the largest cross-sector fraud-sharing and prevention non-profit organisation in the UK, show that in 2018 there were 5,819 cases nationally of young people aged 14-18 using their bank accounts for money muling in the UK. This is a rise of 20 per cent on 2017 (4,849 cases) and a 73 per cent increase since 2016 (3,360 cases).

Further information and advice about money mules is available at www.moneymules.co.uk

Inspector John Shuttleworth of Devon & Cornwall Police said: “In a four year investigation into nationwide large scale fraud Devon and Cornwall Police, involving adults embroiled in money laundering, we found the predominant feature for many of the people suspected of money laundering was a naïve understanding of where money had come from when it appeared in their bank account.

“Some would turn a blind eye for a cut of the money or sometimes sell the bank account to someone without asking why. Some were completely fooled into thinking they were doing a ‘friend’ a favour by lending their account details and security information.

“To be clear, when someone asks to borrow or use your bank account, they will be doing it for the purpose of hiding stolen money that is often stolen from very vulnerable victims or from the proceeds of drug trafficking and the like. Don’t do it, it’s illegal – you could end up being arrested whilst someone somewhere will be profiting from the exploitation of the vulnerable”.

Mike Haley, CEO of Cifas, said: “The increasing use of social media means that young people have never been more vulnerable to becoming victims of fraud. Many youngsters are unaware of the devastating consequences that fraud can have on their future opportunities, and so teachers, parents and carers can play an important role here by ensuring young people have the necessary knowledge and skills to prevent them from unwittingly falling victim to fraud, or even become perpetrators themselves.”

Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said: “It may seem like an easy way to make some cash, but as well as being illegal, being a money mule means you will also be helping to fund serious crimes such as drug dealing and people trafficking. When you are caught your bank account will be closed and you will find it difficult to open an account elsewhere or get a mobile phone contract or credit in the future. Remember, never give your bank account details to anyone unless you know and trust them.”

Follow the advice of the Don’t Be Fooled campaign to spot the tell-tale signs that someone might be involved in money muling and for tips on how to stay safe:

  • Make sure your child doesn’t give their bank account details to anyone unless they know and trust them.
  • Tell them to be cautious of unsolicited offers of easy money, because if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Look out for your child suddenly having extra cash, buying expensive new clothes or electronics with very little explanation as to how they got the money.
  • A young person involved in money muling may become more secretive, withdrawn or appear stressed.

Parents and guardians are advised not to attempt to contact any individual they suspect of organising money muling and should instead contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News

Don't leave valuables on display in parked vehicles

Inspector Ian Stevens, who is responsible for neighbourhood policing in the town is concerned due to the recent spate of vehicle thefts. He said: “We saw eight incidents on one day last week, predominantly in the Chelston and Cockington areas. I want to remind residents that although we live in a safe part of the country, opportunistic thieves will take advantage where they can.”

Opportunistic thieves will look for the easy to steal items, even small change that is often kept in the car for parking. Inspector Stevens went on to say, “the incidents reported involved windows being smashed to gain entry, followed by what appears to be a quick search and the removal of items that were reported to have been on display. Simply removing items from display will go a long way to keeping your vehicle safe.”

Whilst working with the public to take action to reduce the opportunities for thieves, police will be carrying out patrols in the most affected areas and carrying out stop and search where appropriate.

Top tips to remember to keep your vehicle safe:

  • Don’t tempt a thief. Never leave anything on display in your vehicle.Thieves will steal phones, small change, wallets and even shopping bags from cars if they think they could be worth something.

  • Always remove any portable devices.

  • Make sure your vehicle is secure when you leave it, including shutting all windows.

  • Don’t leave the vehicle documents in the car.

  • Try to park in well-lit areas where possible. Thieves always like to steal from cars which are parked in places where they run the least risk of being seen. Avoid parking in places that are concealed from public view.

If you are a victim of car crime please contact the police through the following methods:

If a crime has already happened, or to give information about a crime:

Where life is threatened, people are injured, offenders are nearby or if immediate action is required call 999.

Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News

Appeal for Witnesses - Road Traffic Collision, Kirkstall Road, Leeds

At 9:58am today (16/10) police were called to a road traffic collision in Kirkstall Road, Leeds, involving a white motorcycle and a white Skoda Fabia.
The motorbike rider, a 28-year-old man, was taken to Leeds General Infirmary by ambulance with serious injuries.
The driver of the car, a 71-year-old man, also attended hospital with minor injuries.
A road was closed as enquiries into the incident took place and has now reopened

read more

Source:: West Yorkshire Police Appeals

Burglary in Plymouth

Police are investigating reports of a burglary that took place at a property on Beaconsfield road.

The incident was reported to have taken place on Thursday 4 October between 1pm and 5pm.

A number of items of jewellery and a quantity of cash were taken. The jewellery includes:

Two 24 carat gold chains

Three 24 carat gold ladies rings

A gold and emerald ring

A Swaroski crystal necklace

A 24 carat gold necklace and matching with rubies (pictured)

Six pairs of gold earrings with different stones

Detective Constable Amanda Worthing said: “The victim returned home to find a number of items of jewellery had been taken from her home.

“I’d appeal to anyone who has any relevant information, anyone who may have seen any of the above items for sale and anyone who witnessed the incident, to get in touch with police.”

Anyone who witnessed the incident and anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting CR/089821/19.

Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News