Febelfin is now launching an awareness campaign to stop others falling into this trap.
A father bears witness: “One Saturday morning I received a call from the bank manager stating that suspect transactions had happened on my son’s account. My son told me he had handed his car to a boy at school, who wanted to buy a moped and needed an account on which to deposit the money. He promised my son 30 euros.”
“The bank manager explained that phishing techniques had been used to defraud two other accounts to the tune of 10,000 euros each and that this cash had ended up on my son’s account. The cash had quickly been withdrawn in different branches and in betting shops”.
This story isn’t that exceptional in Belgium. 5% of Belgian youngsters say they have been approached by people interested in using their account. Boys are more likely to become victims than girls. A quarter of these youngsters agreed to the practice. Febelfin says that criminals choose to enlist the help of youngsters because often they are often more naïve and in need of readies.
Acting as a money mule is an offence in law. If anybody is caught, it’s often the youngsters. They stand a near 100% chance of being caught. The youngsters often never see the commission promised and their account is often looted as well. Some youngsters are threatened with physical violence.
Febelfin notes this type of fraud is on the rise. In the first nine months of the year 5,500 new fraud cases were reported. That’s a 60% increase. Sums may be relatively small, but fraud is estimated at 4.7 million euros.
Febelfin warns parents to keep an eye on their children’s accounts because they are responsible in law. The organisation is now launching an awareness campaign on Instagram using influencers.