Cybercriminals recruiting youngsters via social media and at school gates
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    Cybercriminals recruiting youngsters via social media and at school gates

    © Belga
    Social media is widely used to lure youngsters in, to participate in fraud.
    © Belga

    Fraudsters are increasingly recruiting youngsters within their immediate environment, by touting the promise of a quick profit. They are seeking money mules to transfer misappropriated sums, often to other cybercriminals, contacting the youngsters through social networks and school gates. Young people who fall into the trap generally do not realise that they are actually committing an offence, and placing their security at risk. The warning came on Monday from Febelfin, the Belgian federation for the financial sector.

    Social media applications such as Instagram, WhatsApp or Snapchat are frequently used in the process with this in mind, but youngsters are also actively recruited through discussion forums for their class or their school. They are also approached when leaving school.

    The fraudsters promise them that they will earn money quickly and easily by lending the criminals their bank card. The criminals carry out so-called legal transactions – with youngsters’ bank cards, in exchange for financial compensation. Febelfin explains that once the activities have terminated, the youngster is supposed to recover their card.

    In reality these transactions are not legal. The bank card is used to transfer stolen money. Once the youngsters have offered their bank card the pressure mounts: fraudsters then demand further payment cards from them. The federation is convinced that if the young person does not comply, he then suffers threats, accompanied in particular by physical violence.

    If the young people accept the proposal made by the fraudsters, they are then guilty of an offence and are liable to criminal prosecution. Febelfin mentions that if the youngsters are minors, the criminal responsibility is on the parents.

    Consequently, the federation is asking parents to raise their children’s awareness to never give out their bank card, their account number or sort code to third parties. Moreover, Febelfin is encouraging children and parents to indicate any suspicious messages on social networks to the Point of Contact for victims of fraud, deception, scams and swindles (https://meldpunt.belgie.be/meldpunt/fr/bienvenue).

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times