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Young prey for cyber

More young people are acting as ‘money mules’ and falling victim to identity fraud, says the fraud prevention trade body Cifas. It released stats to coincide with the launch of new anti-fraud lesson plans, developed by Cifas, with the PSHE Association, the national body for Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education in schools.

Cifas members such as banks and insurers identified 8,474 cases in relation to under-21-year-olds acting as money mules, 2,256 more (a rise of 36pc) than 2016. This is when someone allows their bank account to be used to move criminal funds, a form of money laundering. As Cifas points out, acting as a money mule is a criminal offence. Some 2,321 under 21s were victims of identity fraud, an increase of 541 compared to the previous year, whether targeted by online fraudsters or unwittingly engaging in fraudulent acts themselves. Hence Cifas has created four Anti-Fraud Education lessons plans, aimed at 11-16 year olds, for raising awareness of fraud, common scams, identity fraud and money mules.

Chief Executive of Cifas Simon Dukes, says: “As our new figures show, it is critical that we take every opportunity to educate young people on how to protect themselves from being either fraud victims or fraud perpetrators. Cifas, industry, government and law enforcement recognise more needs to be done to raise awareness of fraud and financial crime. When it comes to acting as a money mule, unwittingly or not, it is a serious crime that, not only has consequences for the individual concerned, but also for society as a whole.

“On behalf of the Home Office-led Joint Fraud Taskforce, Cifas has launched these new lessons plans with the PSHE Association, to educate young people about how serious this fraud is in the hope that they will think twice before getting involved. It also provides young people with an understanding of the protective behaviours needed to keep themselves safe from online scams and identity fraud more widely.”

The lesson plans cover Key Stage 3 and 4. The two lesson plans for Key Stage 3 students introduce the concept of fraud and the importance of digital literacy and data protection within the context of financial risk. The two lesson plans for Key Stage 4 build on this, by encouraging students to think about their responsibility for financial information. The lesson plans are currently available to download from the PSHE Association website (where they are included as a Quality Assured PSHE resource), and the Cifas website.


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