Significant rise of fraud victims under the age of 21
Young people are increasingly at risk of frauds and money scams. The anti-fraud organisation, Cifas, reports that identity fraud among people under 21 surged by 24% in the last nine months in comparison to 2017. The majority of fraud for under-21s is related to plastic payment cards – such as bank, debit, credit or store cards – with 34% of all cases reported in that sector.
Another alarming phenomenon is increasing exploitation of youngsters as “money mules”. Young people allow using their accounts for illicit transactions. They are told to move the money electronically or to withdraw cash and pass it on in person. In exchange, a person would get a cut of the money. Offers of such cooperation are widely spread across social media. However they might sound tempting and easily lure inexperienced youth, the consequences of illegal collaboration can be devastating.
Cifas is warning that “money mules” can be convicted of money laundering and such conviction in the United Kingdom carries a prison sentence of up to 14 years. Due to suspicious transactions bank can block an account and leave a tag on a user record which will remain for the next six years which will preclude he or she form having any other account in any other reliable bank in the country within this time.
Blocking from the banking system is a punishment for young people in itself. Fraud records at this early are likely to affect their financial situation, staring a professional carrier or even creditworthiness. Prevention of such procedures shall be based on education and awareness as well as a clear reporting system.