Students warned about money laundering scams
Police are warning college and university students in Hertfordshire about money laundering scams which have been targeting students.
Students and other individuals have been approached by criminals in person, or through social media, offering payment for use of their bank account. Once the account details have been handed over the offenders arrange for large sums of money to be paid into the account. This money is then either transferred onto other accounts or withdrawn in cash, with the individual then being paid a fee.
The targeted individuals often are not paid, or are paid significantly less than they were promised. In some cases the account holder’s own money is withdrawn, or transferred, along with the criminal’s funds leaving them out of pocket. In addition to any financial losses allowing your account to be used could lead to a criminal conviction:
- This is criminal activity and we will actively pursue and prosecute anyone involved in money laundering offences.
- If you hand over your bank cards to anyone you will be held responsible for whatever happens with your account, even if they go beyond what you agreed to.
- If convicted of a money laundering offence you are liable to a court making you repay any losses, this may be a far greater sum than you were actually paid.
- If your bank suspects you are involved in money laundering offences they will close your account, if this happens you may not be able to open another account and will have trouble obtaining loans/mortgages or obtaining credit.
- If you are convicted of fraud/money laundering offences this will affect your ability to find work, as you will need to disclose this to employers.
- The bank do not automatically cover losses, these funds are stolen from individuals, businesses and charities who suffer real financial hardship as a result of this crime.
Detective Inspector Yvonne Lewis from the Cyber and Financial Investigations Unit said: “We have received reports of students in Hitchin and Hatfield being targeted by criminals. The targeted person is told that as this is an inside job and all they need to do, if challenged, is say that they don’t know anything about it and they won’t get into trouble and that the bank are the only people who lose money. This is not the case.
“Anyone participating in money laundering is breaking the law and could face serious consequences. You are also likely to lose out financially and potentially be aiding serious organised crime. Do not agree to receive money into your account from people you do not know, if you are approached contact the police and provide details.”
If you are approached or have any information regarding money laundering, please contact the Hertfordshire Constabulary non-emergency number: 101.