Lloyds Banking Group’s ‘Mule Hunters’ freeze more than £1m from scammers

Lloyds Banking Group’s ‘Mule Hunters’ freeze more than £1m from scammers

An innovative new team of fraud-fighters has already frozen £1 million from con artists trying to trick people known as ‘money mules’ into receiving and transferring cash.

Lloyds Banking Group’s ‘mule-hunting team’ was formed to stop the movement of money from scams, shutting down fraudsters’ attempts to shift money using cutting-edge defences developed by specialists from across the bank.

The offer of quick cash is being used by criminals – most commonly on social media – to recruit money mules. Last year, 8,652 18-24 year-olds in the UK were already lured into working with fraudsters between January and September.*

If caught moving fraudulent funds, mules risk being left with no bank account and a damaged credit score, meaning they could be unable to apply for a mortgage, loan or even a phone contract in the future – as well as facing up to 14 years in prison.

As part of the industry-leading pilot, the Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Bank of Scotland, team has developed a number of new techniques to rapidly analyse data, spotting tell-tale signs, patterns and behaviour to halt fraudsters in their tracks. It can identify mule accounts and block them using the new defences and has already stopped more than £1 million being transferred to fraudsters’ accounts since the beginning of 2018.

For all of the frozen funds, Lloyds Banking Group is contacting the sending banks in order to help them get the money back to the victims.

The bank is now planning to roll-out the trial, incorporating these new methods into its state-of- the-art fraud systems, to help stop fraudsters getting away with their ill-gotten gains.

Paul Davis, retail fraud director, Lloyds Banking Group, said: “Keeping our customers’ money safe is our top priority, and this new initiative is part of a multi-million pound investment over the next three years, advancing our defences using the latest data, technology and expertise.

“Fighting financial fraud is a concerted effort between the banks, the police and all of us – the more we all know about how to spot it, the more people we will save from being victims.”

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