Australian police warn university students about money muling #DontBeAMule

Australian law enforcement agencies have come together to deliver a campaign to raise awareness of the growing trend involving criminals recruiting financially vulnerable university students as money mules.

A money mule is a person who receives money from a third party into their bank account, transfers it into another account and obtains a commission for it.

Police are concerned about criminals targeting students, including through lucrative job adverts offering quick and easy money in exchange for moving funds through their bank accounts.

While this period is an exciting time for students, it is also an opportunistic time for organised criminals seeking to recruit money mules.

Criminal networks are targeting and attempting to recruit university students as money mules, which may be due to their financial situations and their active search for part-time employment. International students have added vulnerabilities due to language barriers and their limited knowledge of Australian criminal law.

The month-long campaign will be rolled out nationally across 39 universities by the AFP-led Joint Policing Cybercrime Coordination Centre (JPC3), and will include a digital information pack, marketing material on university campuses and advertising on social media.

The materials seek to educate students on what a money mule is, how to spot this cyber-enabled crime and what people should do if they think they’ve fallen victim to money muling.

To effectively reach a wide group of international students, the campaign will be translated and delivered in seven languages, including Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Punjabi, Nepali, Spanish, Vietnamese and Thai.

AFP Detective Superintendent Tim Stainton said criminals attracted students through job adverts that required no experience and offered weekly payments and flexible work arrangements.

“Often the only requirements for the job are access to a mobile phone or computer and an Australian bank account to receive and transfer funds at the direction of the criminal group – this is a major red flag,” Det Supt Stainton said.

“If a job opportunity seems too good to be true, then it probably isn’t legitimate. If you are being offered significant sums of money to just move money through your bank account, then it is likely you are committing a criminal offence.

/Public Release. View in full here.