Barclays warns scam offering ‘quick money’ could land Britons up to 14 years in prison


The correspondence highlighted numerous scams which are rising in popularity given the ongoing cost of living crisis. However, it also looked at a particular scam which could find Britons embroiled in a “serious crime”.

The bank explained fraudsters are on the hunt given many people are struggling with their finances.

Hoping to take advantage of people’s desperation, scammers are approaching individuals with an offer of “quick and easy money”.

They ask an unsuspecting person to use their account, simply to move some funds, which may seem like an innocuous action.

Barclays warned: “This may be tempting if you’re feeling short of funds.”

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The scam is essentially money laundering, and makes those who fall victim “money mules”.

While the scammer who contacted the person is the criminal, it is the unsuspecting victim who will be caught money laundering.

Money laundering is the process by which criminals move funds and property derived from crime to use it elsewhere.

Using someone else’s account helps these scammers to cover their tracks, but leaves devastation in its wake.

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Barclays has warned those who are caught being a money mule are at risk of:

  • Going to prison for up to 14 years
  • Bank accounts being closed
  • Difficulty getting loans, phone contracts or other credit.

This can be the case even if a person did not know what they were doing, and so the scam is particularly dangerous. 

Some individuals may have been asked to help transfer money, for example by an online friend or love interest, or someone on social media promising a way to make quick cash.

This scammer is described as a “mule herder”, someone trying to recruit a person into being a money mule.

Barclays added: “Mule herders often set up fake profiles on social media and post advertising quick cash or easy investments. When you like their post or message them, they persuade you to follow their instructions by pretending there’s no risk.

“If you think someone is trying to trick you into money muling, block their account and report it.

“Please don’t share your app details with anyone or let them use your account. 

“We’d never ask you to do this. Anyone who does ask is a criminal.”

Those who are worried they are being used as a money mule are encouraged to contact their bank for help and support.


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