The North East Regional Economic Crime Team (RECU) is warning students not to fall victim to criminals looking to launder their ill-gotten gains.

Unscrupulous criminals will often target students in particular to give them access to their bank account. The criminal then deposits money in it in return for a small percentage of the money or designer clothing or other expensive goods. The money will be from criminal activity and is being laundered. But the account holder will often find themselves facing proceedings themselves once the criminal activity is discovered. At the very least they will find it extremely difficult to open another bank account.

Detective Inspector Mick Ryan from the RECU, said:

“Students can be vulnerable to approaches from unscrupulous criminals seeking to launder cash through their accounts and they should resist any temptation to become involved in such schemes.

“If something looks too good to be true then it most likely is and the message is simple; do not allow third parties access to or control over your accounts whilst studying in the UK.”

It comes after the RECU successfully applied for over £170,000 held in the accounts of a student in Yorkshire to be forfeited. In a civil hearing on Monday (20 September) a district judge granted the order after a total of £171,447 was found in the bank accounts of the student.

Det Insp Ryan added

“Account Freezing Orders are a powerful tool in preventing and deterring criminals seeking to exploit the UK’s banking sector.

“We work closely with the banking sector which looks out for activity like this.”