New figures published by fraud prevention service Cifas have revealed an alarming increase in incidents of fraud involving young people with a 24 per cent rise in under-21s falling victim to identity fraud in the first nine months of the year.
The majority of fraud for under-21s related to plastic payment cards – such as bank, debit, credit or store cards – with 34 per cent of all cases reported in that sector, a 79 per cent increase in the past year.
Cifas has also reported a steep rise in the number of young people acting as ‘money mules’, with a 26 per cent rise in reported incidents in those aged 21 and younger between 2017 and 2018.
So far in 2018, 9,636 money mules aged less than 21 have been identified in the UK by Cifas.
Money mules allow their bank accounts – often unwittingly – to be used to facilitate the movement of criminal funds, thereby exposing themselves to a charge of money laundering, an offence which carries a maximum prison sentence of up to 14 years.
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Cifas is now urging banks to do more to provide information to young people when they first open an account to warn them of the implications of becoming a money mule.
Mike Haley, chief executive of Cifas, said: “Our new figures are alarming to say the least. Young people are increasingly at risk of becoming victims of identify fraud, with little idea of how to protect themselves.
“All of us, as parents, teachers, and responsible citizens, have a duty to ensure we are taking every opportunity to educate young people on the dangers of becoming a fraud victim – and equally, a perpetrator of fraud.”
The next meeting of the Tarring Community Forum meeting takes place on Tuesday at 7pm at the West Worthing Baptist Church Centre, South Street.
Prior to this, the monthly litter pick in Tarring Park begins at 10am on Saturday.
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