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Say no to the ‘money mule man’

Scottish comedian Paul Black is working with Royal Bank of Scotland as part of a new campaign aiming to raise awareness of the rise in money muling – where targets are recruited to channel illicit funds through their personal bank accounts.

From this week, Scottish comedian Paul Black will be taking to the streets of Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh as the “money mule man” and approaching people to look after money. If they simply say no, they will be rewarded with a £100, while those who say yes will go home empty handed.

The new campaign from Royal Bank of Scotland aims to raise awareness of money muling and support people in being vigilant about the ways criminals might try and exploit them by making use of their bank account.

The number of money mules has increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic and over 17,000 suspected cases involving 21- to 30-year-olds were recorded in 2020 according to Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention body. Rising social media usage during lockdown is thought to be linked to the spike, with criminals using apps such as Snapchat and Instagram to recruit targets.

Money muling often involves criminals recruiting young people to use their bank accounts to move cash which has been illegally stolen or transferred from another account.

Despite the upsurge in money muling, many young people are unaware of the consequences of allowing criminals access to their accounts – with those caught facing up to a fourteen-year prison sentence and a lifetime ban from holding a bank account.

Cifas research has found that the number of 14–18-year-olds charged with money muling offenses to have risen by 73% since 2020.

Commenting on the campaign, Paul Black said: “To be honest, I’d never heard of money muling until recently, but I think that’s the key issue – people are letting criminals channel money through their bank accounts with no idea that what they’re doing is actually against the law.

“Hopefully, this new campaign will encourage people to think twice if they’re approached by a random and offered cash to let money sit in their bank for a few days. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

“I’ll be out and about in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee to see if members of the public are clued up on money muling and find out who’s smart enough to win 100 quid!”