A new study from the UK’s fraud prevention service Cifas, has shown a huge increase in the number of ‘money mule’ cases among young people in the UK. In this blog post we examine the stats behind the Cifas research and examine how regulated firms can weed out the fraudsters & the mules.

According to the study, 75% of young people have been targeted as ‘money mules’ to transfer the proceeds of crime in and out of their bank accounts.  From January to September this year alone, there were 8,652 cases of 18-24-year-olds having their bank accounts successfully exploited by criminals. These individuals who are targeted are often from poorer backgrounds, short on money and need cash fast. If caught, many money mules could face jail and have their bank account closed.

With this kind of criminal activity on the rise, many of our clients are asking how HooYuIdentify can help to spot not just identity thieves, but also the fraudsters that are using mules to conduct financial crime.

How to prevent mules when the mules are using their own legitimate details at account opening?

The challenge with mule-led activity is that the fraudster uses the mule to open new accounts. Because it is the real person opening the accounts in their name with their credentials, they will pass traditional KYC methods such as database checks.

The key then is to employ a wider variety of identity verification tools on a Risk Based Approach at point of registration to alarm mules and make them think twice.  At HooYu Identify, we deploy a selfie capture and ID document validation is an opportunity to deter the would-be mule by making them realise that they can’t claim innocence when they themselves provided a selfie (tested for liveness detection of course!) and their ID document to open the account.

How to detect mules later in the customer lifecycle?

Later in the customer lifecycle, after account opening, the mule is likely to no longer have control of their account and it will be the fraudster pulling the strings behind the scenes as they move money in and out of the account.

At this stage, HooYu Identify can be deployed to distinguish whether it is the fraudster operating the account or the true owner of the account. We offers a range of identity impersonation defences such as facial biometrics, liveness detection and digital footprint analysis.

HooYu Identify analyses and measures a person’s digital footprint from sources such as Facebook, LinkedIn, PayPal, Amazon, Google+ and others. Fraudsters hiding behind fake profiles are spotted but real people with real credentials are able to pass the HooYu Identify’s digital footprint test.

In short, muling is one of the biggest challenges facing our banking and financial services clients.  Just checking a database to confirm an identity is no longer the defence it used to be. Now is the time to bring other identity technologies like HooYu Identify into play.

HooYu are currently helping a wide variety of businesses deal with financial crime during the customer lifecycle. Our solution provides you with an individual’s financial background to help you monitor any on-going high-risk transactions.