J1 students engaging in ‘Money Muling’ could result in criminal record

Bank of Ireland is warning that ‘money-muling’ – or allowing a bank account to be used to transfer stolen money for a fee – can lead to a criminal record and impact travel or employment prospects. The warning comes as some students will be planning their J1 summer trips abroad.

The practice of fraudsters recruiting students and young people as ‘money mules’ is on the increase with much recruitment done through social media. Criminals are increasingly recruiting people as young as 14 to help launder stolen or illegal money using their bank account.

'Money mules’ receive stolen money into their account, then transfer it to another account, usually overseas, and keep some of the cash for themselves as payment or withdraw the cash and pass it on to the money mule recruiter.

Nicola Sadler, Head of Fraud, Bank of Ireland said:

“Offers to make quick and easy money can seem appealing but this is a way that fraudsters use people as ‘money mules’. Young people and students are being approached with increasing regularity through social media channels including Tik Tok and Snapchat and recruited as money mules. Sometimes people are approached to do this as a favour, but, more often, they are offered a payment for use of their account.

“We understand the temptation, but we are urging students and young people to be very clear on the consequences. Allowing your bank account to be used in in this way is a criminal offence carrying potentially very serious consequences. It’s J1 season but a criminal conviction for money muling could mean restrictions to travel, ruling out that opportunity out for students.

“If you allow your account to be used, it will be reported to Gardaí and your account will be closed. Gardaí may arrest you or search your home. If you’re charged, you may have to appear in court, and it could have implications for getting bank loans, visas, or jobs in the future.

“We are reminding young people that the use of bank accounts for illegal activity can have longer term impacts. Being naïve is not a defence. Money muling through your bank account is a crime, which can result in a criminal record.”

Bank of Ireland advice:

Beware of requests to make quick and easy money.

  • Beware of job advertisements that might seem genuine but promise a quick and easy way to make money, and simply ask that you have a bank account.
  • Don’t be tempted to allow your own bank account to be used to move money to other accounts.
  • Always verify any ‘working from home’ opportunities to make sure that the business is legitimate, such as by checking their contact details (address, landline phone number, email address and website).
  • Remember that moving stolen money is illegal and can have serious consequences.

For information on money mules and fraud protection, visit Bank of Ireland Security Zone.

Further advice/information: www.garda.ie for crime prevention advice and contact details of local Garda Stations.