Fola has 5 years’ experience in financial crime, working in payments and remittance, both in the field of Fintech and at a Fortune 100 company. Fola has worked on projects involving some of the world’s leading banks on compliance matters.
Her educational background includes an LLB Law degree from Leicester and a LLM in Banking and Finance Law from Queen Mary University in London. Fola has obtained various certifications including transaction Monitoring and Detection of Modern slavery and Human trafficking and is currently in the process of completing a Diploma in Anti-Money Laundering.
Fola Coker shares insight to BeComAware Members detailing must-know insights into money mules, who they target, how they operate, how to prevent being targeted and what the repercussions are.
What are money mules?
Money Mules are individuals targeted by organised crime gangs to assist in laundering the proceeds of criminal property. They contact individuals with the aim of either gaining use of their bank account or requesting that they transfer funds on their behalf.
Where is the term derived from?
Derived from ‘Mules’ the animal, used for transportation of goods in mainly in the 19th and early part of the 20th century.
Who do they target?
They usually target the vulnerable in society; individuals who will likely benefit from extra funds. This includes students, single mothers, individuals on the benefit system and even pensioners. The majority of these individuals are unaware that they are facilitating money laundering, they simply think they are being paid a percentage to allow use of their bank account. During the Christmas season, there is a large increase in targets as a large number of people need extra funds for the holiday season.
How do they operate?
They use a range of platforms such as social media, job ads, phishing emails and dating websites.
How to prevent it?
Do not allow anyone use of your bank account. Do not transfer funds on behalf of another individual. Be wary of people who promise instant cash, form hasty romantic attachments with you online and Job adverts that seem too good to be true.
What are the repercussions?
Allowing these individuals/organised crime groups to use your bank account could lead to:
1. Inability to hold a UK bank account for 6 years,
2. Inability to work in any financial capacity or financial firms for 6 years,
3. In some extreme cases, this has lead to criminal convictions and records.