Under 30s linked to 62% of all money mule cases this year, with recruiters using online job adverts to target young people on social media

  • Money mule fraud is being fuelled by young people falling for ‘quick cash’ job adverts on social media
  • A third of young people could have already been money mules illegally
  • 78% of young Brits do not know what money muling is - 25% believe it refers to someone who tops up cash machines
  • 59% said they feel pressure to afford presents this year with 87% open to opportunities to make additional cash

·         A NatWest fraud awareness campaign aims to show that becoming a money mule is not the solution to making quick cash. Their ‘Honest Job Ad’ staring Perri Kiely, will run across social media and reveals the pitfalls if caught - including 14 years in jail, not being able to get a bank account or phone contract – and even supporting human trafficking 

Links to view/download NatWest’s ‘Honest’ Job Ad YouTube / Vimeo

Link to download imageshttps://www.flickr.com/gp/taylorherringpr/2f3fb05319

NatWest has released an ‘honest’ job advert to warn of the dangers of money muling, after new research reveals 39% of young adults have been targeted by potentially sinister job ads on social media.

The ad, which forms part of the bank’s fraud awareness campaign, will run across social media and sees Perri Kiely staring as a ‘recruiter’ advertising the perks of being a money mule – without leaving out any of the honest realities that the criminals behind them don’t want you to know. Billboard-style posters also bring to life some of the realities that money mules could face, with one showing Perri in jail.

Young people are responsible for a significant percentage of money mule fraud in the UK, with 62% of all cases so far this year linked to under 30s1. However, many young people are recruited into these schemes without understanding the potential consequences – or even, that they are doing anything wrong.

A study by NatWest of 1,000 18-30 year olds2 discovered that four in ten (39%) young adults have been targeted by ‘quick money’ job ads on social media, with three quarters (74%) seeing an increase in these ads in the last two years - and of those 91% said the number of times they’ve seen them has more than doubled.

However, on average, 78% were unaware of what a money mule is, only 32% have heard the term before and 60% don’t know the severity of the consequences – which if convicted, can land you in jail for up to 14 years.

Money muling is the fraudulent use of a bank account and therefore also is a type of money laundering. A money mule receives money from someone else, and either takes it out as cash or transfers it on to a new account, keeping a small amount of ‘commission’ for themselves. Some people are aware they are working as money mules, but others are unaware and enticed by job ads promising easy ways to make quick cash – often on social media.

Data from Cifas shows that there have been 18,626 cases linked to money mule activity from under 30’s so far this year - accounting for 62% of all cases.

Alongside the potential for a lengthy stint in jail, consequences of being convicted as a money mule could include not being able to get a bank account or a phone contract and as a money mule, you could even be supporting human trafficking, as criminals hire money mules to help launder the proceeds of crime.

The research discovered that, on average, almost six in ten (57%) 18-30 year olds would be open to making extra cash by accepting money into their bank account and transferring it to someone else - despite money laundering being illegal.

When given a description of what money muling is, 25% said they thought it sounded like an easy way to make a bit of cash and 59% were also not aware that this type of activity could be illegal.

15% of those surveyed also thought the definition of money laundering is putting cash through a washing machine or hanging it out to dry. A quarter (25%) think a money mule is someone who tops up cash machines with money.


Laundering the profits of any criminal activity is illegal, even if there was no knowledge of how the money was obtained. Although some people become money mules knowingly, an alarming number of under 30’s could have unknowingly engaged in this activity, with NatWest’s survey finding that a third (32%) of young people have received money from someone and transferred it to someone else or taken it out as cash and given it to someone else, without knowing its origin.


With young people feeling the pinch this Christmas as the cost-of-living bites, the concern is that they will be more easily drawn in by fraudulent ‘easy money’ schemes. 59% are feeling pressure to afford presents this Christmas and 87% of those said they would be open to ways to make some extra cash to help fund their outgoings during the festive season.

40% also said that due to the cost of living crisis, they would be more open to opportunities they see online to make a bit of extra cash.

But the survey shows that many young people are totally unaware of the consequences of acting as a money mule. 79% didn’t know you can go to prison for money muling, 81% didn’t realise you might not be able to get another bank account and 89% didn’t realise you could no longer be able to take out a phone contract if caught.

To highlight the dangers of being recruited as a money mule, NatWest has teamed up with 26 year old celebrity and social media star, Perri Kiely, to create an ‘honest’ job ad and poster campaign – highlighting the true nature of money muling and the consequences if convicted. 

Perri Kiely, who features in NatWest’s Honest Job Ad, said: “It's hard not to be tempted by the offer of quick cash and these types of ads which play on the supposed opportunity to make a little extra money – particularly during what are harder times for many people - are something I see all the time on my social media. Being part of this very honest job ad has taught me that, as the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. We all need to be watchful for the signs and educate ourselves and everyone around us about how to avoid them.”

Stuart Skinner, Fraud and Scam Expert at NatWest said: “Now more than ever, people are increasingly mindful of their money and financial pressures are only likely to intensify during the festive season. We want to help keep your finances safe by highlighting the dangers that exist in our society via money muling and online scammers. We would urge all parents, friends and family to talk about this important issue with their loved ones to help safeguard against the serious risks and consequences that many young people are unaware of”


To watch NatWest’s ‘Honest’ Job Ad featuring Perri Kiely, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8ifENISsmc


To find out more about money muling and how to spot the signs, visit https://www.natwest.com/fraud-and-security.html


For more information, please contact:

Abigail Foran at Taylor Herring PR


0208 206 5151


1 Fraudscape 2022 9 Month Figures

2 Survey of 1,000 British 18 – 25 year olds was conducted by OnePoll in November 2022 on behalf of NatWest.

About NatWest 

NatWest serves customers in England and Wales, supporting them with their personal, private, and business banking needs. NatWest helps customers at all stages in their lives, from opening student accounts, to buying their first home, setting up a business, and saving for retirement.  

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