UK ‘money mules’ earn £2,000 in a couple of hours

masked criminal behind laptop

The police have issued a stark warning for internet users and particularly job seekers to avoid too-good-to be-true' money making schemes, which could turn them into criminals.

Cyber criminals are turning users into money mules', where they transfer money illegally gained from UK bank accounts to other countries.

They do this by recruiting people online, often by convincing them they are applying for a genuine job, to receive funds into their accounts. The mules then withdraw the money and send it overseas using wire transfers.

Experts at Get Safe Online claimed that they reported seeing people being lured by offers of 2,000 for a couple of hours work per day.

But if internet users do this they are committing a criminal act, and if found out will have their bank accounts suspended. They would also likely have to pay the full amount of the funds laundered.

"Criminals are reliant on mule operations to receive money and forward money taken from online banking fraud," said deputy of e-crime at the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) Sharon Lemon, in a statement.

"Some money mules know exactly what they are doing," she affirmed. "However, many end up laundering profits for overseas criminals as a result of being taken in by fake recruitment sites."

"The consequence is that they end up liable for all the criminal funds they've received which must be repaid, their bank accounts are frozen and they may be subject to criminal investigation."

Tony Neate, managing director of Get Safe, said in a statement that at any given time there are 100 known mule recruitment sites in Britain with around 50 active mules.

He said: "Many will be moving considerable amounts of money, but even based on a low estimate that each mule makes three to four transactions, amounting to around 1,500 before being caught that's already 7.5 million in illegal funds."

This week marks Get Safe Online week and new research has shown that one in seven internet users claims to have been approached online or sent an unsolicited email with a job offer.

To combat online threats like these, popular trading and job hunting website launched a new safety hub called the Gummies Guide to educate and inform users.

"With many people looking for ways to earn money during a recession, it's critical hat people learn to spot the warning signs to avoid becoming a victim," Neate concluded.