Shropshire police in child 'money mules' warning to parents
Parents in Shropshire are being warned their children could become 'money mules' laundering cash for criminal gangs.
West Mercia Police have issued the warning to schools and parents of the dangers and consequences of becoming a money mule.
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 need money mules to launder the profits of their crimes.
In a letter sent out this week, the force said: "Young people are increasingly being targeted to become money mules. They are approached online or in person, including through social media, at school, college or sports clubs. Sometimes people they know persuade them to take part, often because they are also acting as money mules.
"Mules will usually be unaware of where the money comes from – commonly fraud and scams – and that it can go on to fund crimes such as drug dealing and people trafficking.Being a money mule is illegal.
"When someone is caught, their bank account will be closed, and they will have problems getting student loans, mobile phone contracts and credit in the future. They could even face arrest for money laundering which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.
"Tell-tale signs that someone might be involved could be them suddenly having extra cash, buying expensive new clothes or top-of-the-range mobile phones and gadgets with very little explanation as to how they got the money. They may also become more secretive, withdrawn or appear stressed."
For more information and to get advice visit moneymules.co.uk
Anyone with concerns that someone they know might be caught up in money muling, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The police added: "Please do not attempt to contact any individual you suspect of organising money muling."