British bank launches hunt for money mule accounts
18 May 2018

Lloyds Banking Group is looking to roll out a new scheme to combat money muling and also return money to victims of the scams.

The British bank is to launch a trial of its strategy, which it said involves using new techniques to spot tell-tale signs, patterns and behaviour, and analyse data rapidly.

Its team assigned to tackle money muling has so far stopped more than £1 million being transferred to fraudsters’ accounts since the beginning of the year.

A key factor for the bank is to look beyond the usual tell-tale sign of large deposits, and examine other factors too, it said.

“We’ve been successful because we haven’t just been looking out for large credits arriving into accounts and blocking this money – it’s much more complicated than techniques focused solely on amounts that often relate to genuine purposes – such as buying a house or paying for medical costs, car, weddings or holidays,” a spokesman said.

Money mules are individuals recruited by criminals to transfer or withdraw illegally obtained money between different bank accounts, usually keeping some of the money as ‘payment.’

Some of the illegal funds are obtained from push payment scams (also called APP – or authorised bank transfer scams), where people are tricked into sending money to a fraudster.

Once the Lloyd’s team identifies a money mule account, it freezes it and contacts the sending banks in order to arrange for the money to be returned to the victims, such as those defrauded in APP scams.

Money muling is a growing concern for British law enforcement, with figures showing a high number of young people being recruited as mules.

Last year, 8,652 18-24 year-olds in the UK were lured into working with fraudsters between January and September, Lloyds said.

Paul Davis, Retail Fraud Director, Lloyds Banking Group, said: “Fighting financial fraud is a concerted effort between the banks, the police and all of us – the more we all know about how to spot it, the more people we will save from being victims.”

Photo by Anestiev

Read more:

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