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Clare’s Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Triona Brooks: ""Rogue tradesmen will charge exorbitant prices and have been known to bring people to the bank to withdraw money."

Clare students warned of the dangers of becoming ‘Money Mules’

Champion Chatter

CLARE students have been warned about the dangers of becoming a ‘Money Mule’ by the county’s crime prevention officer.

Sergeant Triona Brooks outlined, “If you act as a money mule you are helping international organised crime. You are helping them fund other crimes and funding their lifestyle.”

She explained that a Money Mule is a person who allows their bank account to be used for the transfer of illegally-gotten money on behalf of others. They may also receive money into their bank account in order to withdraw it and wire it overseas.

“Even if Money Mules are not involved in generating the money, they are acting illegally by laundering the proceeds of crime and helping criminal syndicates move their money around the world. It doesn’t matter where the money is stolen, it is a crime to launder the proceeds of crime in Ireland regardless of where the original crime occurred.”

Money Mules are often recruited through social media or instant messaging apps with offers of ‘work’, a chance to make easy money, or a chance to ‘help’ somebody; seemingly, legitimate job offers online; through direct approaches or personal contacts met at social events, college, work, etc. Recruitment can also happen while purchasing drugs. “Many people are allowed by drug dealers to pay off drug debts by becoming money mules.”

If you are caught acting as a Money Mule you face a prison sentence of up to 14 years, incur a fine or community service. You could obtain a criminal conviction “which stays on your record for life.”

You could also face being extradited to the country where the predicate crime occurred.

Other repercussions include your name and possibly picture published in newspapers and online. Your bank account could be closed and you could be refused the option of opening another, she warned.

She added that convicted money mules could also be refused a visa to work abroad or even bBe deemed liable by the gang to repay them any money frozen in your account by the bank or any seized by Gardaí. It could also affect your ability to find employment in the future, said the sergeant.

She advised people to watch out for the warning signs they are being targetted as a potential Money Mule.

“The following characteristics are commonly used: You could be approached via a social media platform with an offer to make easy money; You could also be approached in a social setting; The offer promises significant reward for simply providing your bank account details to receive an incoming payment;

“The individual who makes the approach only uses their social media name and will not provide information to identify themselves; The money mule is then requested to complete an online form which incorporates all details relating to the account including online security access codes.

“Also there can be advertisements for Money Transfer agent jobs on online platforms – significant financial rewards offered for simply transferring money on.”

If you are targetted, do not respond to messages or click on any links, she said.

“Do not allow anyone to use our bank account. Do not share bank account data. Do not send or receive money. If you are solicited to facilitate this crime, say No and report it to the gardaí. Trust your instincts, if it sound too good to be true it probably is,” said Sergeant Brooks.

An Garda Síochána has recently launched a campaign to help keep students safe which provides advice on topics such as rental fraud, money mules, staying safe, driving, drugs, sexual consent and hate crime.

“The aim of the Safe at College campaign is to raise awareness amongst students and to work in partnership to make the college experience a safe and secure one by being mindful and taking steps to stay safe,” she explained.

The Campus Watch Programme is a crime prevention and community safety programme similar to a residential Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. It operates as a partnership between An Garda Síochána and the campus occupants.

“We want to ensure students enjoy their college experience and to remind both the student and their parents that there is information and help available through the Campus Watch Schemes run in colleges across the country. Advice and information can be found in the Campus Watch Information which is available in multiple languages on the Campus Watch page at”

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