Hampshire Police are today warning young people about a new and growing fraudulent scam – predominantly targeting students – called credit muling.
People are being targeted online on social media platforms by job adverts. This is normally on Facebook but we have also had reports using Snapchat and other social media apps. The majority of victims we have encountered in Hampshire have been university students.
How it works:
The victim responds to the advert online and is advised that they need to meet their would-be manager and that they are also required to undergo a credit check. A small deposit of money is placed in the victim’s account to confirm they have an active bank account.
Victim is then advised they need to obtain a business mobile phone contract. They are told to go to a mobile phone shop and take out a new phone contract in their name, using their personal details.
The suspects go with the victims to the shop and wait outside. Once the phone has been obtained, it is handed over to the scammer who then has a phone to use registered in their name together with the victims’ personal details - which can be used to commit identity fraud.
This crime has been reported across the country and is typically part of a broader organised crime operation.
How to protect yourself:
Only seek employment opportunities from reputable employment agencies or direct job recruitment posts on official company websites;
Never assume any job advert on social media is genuine. Always take time to verity any information that you see. Trust your instincts – if it sounds too good to be true, it often is;
Potential employers would never ask you to receive funds into your bank account to check the credit worthiness of your bank or ask you to purchase high value items for them in your name;
Your debit or credit card is yours – don’t let a stranger take it off you. You should only ever have to hand it over at your bank. If it’s cancelled, you should destroy it yourself.
How to spot the signs of a credit muling scam:
Someone contacts you on social media or in person offering employment or a quick and easy way to make some money;
Someone asking you to meet the manager in the street without going through any formal application or job recruitment process;
Somebody offering to pick you up or asking you to take them to mobile phone or other shops;
Someone asking for your bank details and offering to transfer money into your account in order for you to take out mobile phone contracts;
Someone asking you for your banking and other personal information;
Someone asking you to hand over your phone and wallet;
Someone asking you to purchase high value items in your name for them.
How to report it:
If suspects are near-by or have recently been with you, you should report this by calling the police on 999 or 101;
If you think you have been a victim of this type of crime in the past you can report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040, text phone 0300 123 2050.
For further info and alerts on cyber-enabled frauds, please follow on Twitter @HCCyberProtect and @ActionFraudUK