Police arrest Dutch money mules in international action

Police arrest Dutch money mules in international action

In the past three months, almost two thousand so-called money mules have been arrested in international action. This was reported by the police on Thursday. It concerns actions in 27 countries, including the Netherlands. It was the seventh time that the promotion, called European Money Mule Action (EMMA), was held. Europol helped coordinate the action.

Growing problem

Money mules (also called money mules  ) temporarily make their bank account available for money that criminals earn through money laundering, among other things. Often these are young people who are recruited by cybercriminals. The stolen money goes through various bank accounts and is, therefore, more difficult to trace back to the criminal.

The police see this type of crime happening more and more often. In the Netherlands, the Electronic Crimes Task Force (ECTF) of the National Unit combats cybercrime targeting banks and their customers. This is a partnership between the police, the Public Prosecution Service, banks and International Card Services (ICS).

Team leader Caroline Sander of the ECTF says that in the past three months several money mules have also been identified in the Netherlands during actions and criminal investigations. Some of these studies are still ongoing. According to Sander, fifteen days of action took place this year in the Rotterdam region alone, which led to the arrest of about two hundred money mules. Recently, the police arrested fourteen money mules between the ages of 18 and 60.

EMMA action week

The police announce the arrests of the international action during the European Money Mule Action (EMMA) action week. This week focuses on the problem. In September, the police, in collaboration with banks (Safe Banking), launched a prevention campaign under the motto “My scam, your problem”. The campaign is aimed at MBO and HBO schools, among others. They received a personal letter and information package about the possible consequences of working as a money mule.

As an extension of the EMMA action week, ING is sending a message to young account holders via its app to prevent them from acting as money mules.

Big chance of getting caught

Money mules often receive a small part of the amount stolen through phishing as compensation. The police warn that the money mules are easy to trace through their bank account. The ‘real’ criminals, on the other hand, often stay away from the police and the judiciary.

Caroline Sander emphasizes that tackling money mules disrupts the criminal process. The perpetrators behind it have a harder time siphoning off the money. “In addition,” says Sander, “this provides us with valuable information about those individuals. This way we prevent more victims of cybercrime.”

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