Crimestoppers helps tackle financial exploitation of students in Yorkshire by cracking down on criminal gangsPosted by: Sam Pegg
As universities reopen, Crimestoppers is encouraging students in the Yorkshire and Humber region to look out for financial fraudsters trying to exploit their bank accounts to money launder
In a new campaign the charity, which is independent of the police, is asking university students to spot the signs of student exploitation and for anyone with information to speak up using Crimestoppers unique service that guarantees everyone stays 100% anonymous. Always.
University students are often targeted by criminals on social media and mobile messaging where they are tricked into cleaning ‘dirty money’ in return for ‘easy money’. Victims are approached because they are less likely to have a criminal record and many are actively seeking employment to support their finances whilst studying.
Criminal gangs exploit these students by convincing them to share their bank account details, or asking if they can ‘borrow’ their account. These accounts are then used for depositing, withdrawing and transferring onwards sums of money, with the promise of a percentage for the student to keep.
This money has usually been obtained through fraudulent or criminal means and is used for further criminal activity which harms individuals and communities across Yorkshire and beyond.Recruitment is often through:
- Unsolicited emails asking for assistance
- Contact via social networking or messaging sites
- False vacancies on websites posing as legitimate businesses
- Classified adverts in the press and online which look legitimate.
Students are asked to look out for terms like:
- Work from home
- No experience necessary
- Make £300 a week
- Must have own UK bank account.
Example scams to snare somebody:
Criminals might call pretending to be your internet company or similar and say you're due a £100 refund. When you share your bank details, you'll get transferred £10,000. Then the criminal calls saying it was a mistake and asks you to move £9,900 to a different account.- A victim studying in the UK was approached on a popular social media app by somebody called ‘Kitty’. She was asked for help to transfer money back to China and wanted to use the victim’s UK bank account. Kitty said she was from the same university as the victim and she showed her student ID. The victim received a screenshot showing that money had been transferred to her account. The victim then sent money to Kitty’s account in China, only to eventually find out that money had never been transferred to her account in the first place and Kitty had stolen the identity of another student.Gemma Gibbs, Yorkshire & Humberside Regional Manager at charity Crimestoppers, said: “We know criminals don’t care about the impact or suffering experienced by those they exploit. “It is an easy mistake for a student to get caught up in this type of crime, which could be costly for their future. Their bank account could be closed and they wouldn’t be able to open another. This could make it hard to get a student loan and would affect their future credit. They could also get a criminal record and could face up to 14 years in prison.“I encourage anyone with information about these financial criminals targeting students to contact our charity 100% anonymously, either via our website or by phone. Crimestoppers never asks for or stores the personal details of those who contact us. The information we receive and pass on will help protect students from the harm of being caught up – however innocently – in crime, thereby enabling them to focus on their studies in Yorkshire without facing serious consequences.”
Andy Fox, Counter Fraud Coordinator Yorkshire & Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit, said:“We are really pleased to work with Crimestoppers on this initiative to protect university students from becoming victims of fraud. This is an exciting time in a young person’s life and we want them to have a fantastic experience in our amazing universities. Raising awareness of the signs that they are being recruited as a money mule, can save them losing substantial amounts of money, leaving them unable to pay their fees and potentially ending up with a criminal record.”
To report a financial fraudster 100% anonymously, visit the Crimestoppers website Crimestoppers-uk.org and fill in a secure anonymous online form or call the charity’s 24/7 UK Contact Centre on freephone 0800 555 111.
Please note: With Crimestoppers computer IP addresses are never traced, and no-one will ever know you contacted them. For telephone calls, there is no caller line display, no 1471 facility and the charity has never traced a call.
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