Former fraudster Tony Sales, who served a prison sentence for his crimes, now helps organisations in their fight against fraud.
He is head of strategic development at fraud prevention group We Fight Fraud.
He says: ‘Since the dawn of the internet, criminals have been able to take over bank accounts either by hacking, socially engineering someone to give them their personal information over the phone, or using corrupt internal staff.’
Crooks looking for ‘mules’, often prey on the vulnerable, particularly lower income families or people with addictions and struggling businesses, he says.
‘The criminal promises wads of money that will be transferred into their account, normally between £3,000 and £10,000 – and it is all done within a day,’ he adds.
‘The account holder will then get a few hundred pounds in return.’
Last year, We Fight Fraud and Santander bank found that criminals were also encouraging children to become mules.
Sales says: ‘It’s not hard to find people advertising for mules.’ He says social media is awash with people looking for potential dupes.
And he warns: ‘With recession upon us, this type of crime is only going to get bigger.