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HomeEstonia18-25-year-olds easy prey for recruitment into money laundering schemes

18-25-year-olds easy prey for recruitment into money laundering schemes

According to SEB Estonia, practice shows that young people aged 18-25 are an easy target for fraudsters recruiting for money laundering schemes.

Katlin Kukk, manager of SEB’s security center, said that since young people usually lack savings, fraudsters try to use them as intermediaries for money laundering.

Kukk said that despite young people’s digital proficiency, inadequate awareness, haste, excessive trust, and superficiality are reasons why they fall for fraudsters’ schemes. SEB’s statistics on fraud cases over the last six months show a negative trend among the youth. While those up to 17 years old make up only two percent of all identified fraud case victims, the number rises to 10 percent in the 18-25 age group.

Kukk noted that young people often fall victim to various phishing schemes, mostly through hard-to-detect bogus links, where they unknowingly give away their card details or access to online banking. Secondly, more organized schemes, such as phone scams offering job proposals, investment fraud, and schemes conducted on personal buying and selling platforms, are the biggest threats to Generation Z.

“The most dangerous are usually ‘job offers’ spreading online, predominantly on social media. For the younger generation, finding a job through social media is more of a norm, but the dangers remain unnoticed. The job titles might include transaction processing operator or payment intermediary, who consents to participate in illegal money transfers, thereby offering services to criminals. Easy money can lead to dangerous consequences, and a criminal conviction could easily ruin a person’s future,” Kukk stated.

Kukk said that job offers targeted at young people are mostly made through social media but also via Messenger, Snapchat, WhatsApp, or Viber. However, the offers can also come via email, pop-up ads, or even through an acquaintance on the street. The opportunity to earn money is appealing because it does not require physical effort or knowledge, and can be done part-time alongside studies.

“Under the criminals’ instructions, the young person opens a bank account in their name, or even uses their personal bank account to conduct the job. Different amounts start to be credited to the young person’s account, which they have to forward or withdraw from an ATM and then hand over to someone else. The ’employer’ provides instructions on where, to whom, and how much to transfer,” Kukk added.

Participation in such schemes can lead to reputational damage; psychological or physical violence from the “employer,” as well as a criminal conviction, which may result in being banned from entering certain countries, obtaining a mortgage, or working in certain jobs.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)

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