What is Bank Transfer Fraud?
According to UK Finance, more than £208m was stolen by fraudsters through bank transfer scams in the first half of 2019. Bank transfer fraud occurs when a scammer tricks victims into transferring money from their own bank account. This can take place in a number of ways. Common bank transfer scams include:
Phishing refers to fraudsters asking victims for personal details via email, such as passwords and bank account details, etc. Phishers pose as legitimate companies or imitate trusted contacts such as the victim’s bank to trick the victim into handing over sensitive information that can be used to hack their bank account and make unauthorised transfers into the fraudster’s account.
Lottery and Sweeps
The victim is notified that they have won a lottery or sweepstake and are asked to pay a fee in advance in order to receive the prize. This also falls under types of advance fee scams. The 419 scam is another example of bank transfer fraud that also falls under advance fee fraud.
Sometimes fraudsters pose as a fake charity and contact unwitting victims, persuading them to transfer money into the non-existent charity’s bank account as a donation.
In this case, a fraudster hacks an email account and send emails to everyone in the email address. These emails typically follow a generic storyline, such as being stranded abroad and in need of a loan to help them get back after being robbed.
Here, the fraudster poses as a love interest on an online dating site and earns the victim’s trust. Once an emotional connection has been established, the fraudster asks the victim to wire them money to help them.
Bank Transfer Fraud Penalties
If you think you are being investigated for bank transfer scams, please read our previous blog post on how the bank fraud investigation process works.
Increasingly, young people are becoming targeted on social media and being pulled into bank transfer fraud and, by proxy, money laundering by becoming money mules. The fraudsters tend to target under 25s with no criminal history and offer a ‘get rich quick’ arrangement whereby the victim agrees to have funds placed in their back account and follows instructions to transfer it onwards in exchange for a payment. However, this is a technique fraudsters use to make illegally acquired funds more difficult to trace. Even if the mule is unaware of what is going on, they are still committing a crime by allowing their bank account to be used for fraudulent activity. Not only could this result in up to 14 years in prison, but it also makes it difficult to open a bank account in the future or to apply for a mortgage.
Whether you have committed bank transfer fraud with any of the techniques mentioned above or have become a money mule, our team of fraud lawyers can advise and represent you in bank transfer fraud cases. Get in touch with our team of fraud barristers today.