Exploitation of children for financial crime

Criminals wanting to hide the source of their income change methods all the time. Now Linus Fugl, Head of Transaction Services at Danske Bank, warns that children as young as 12 are being used as mules and tricked into laundering money.

A mule is normally a hybrid between a horse mare and a donkey stallion. In terms of financial crime, however, a mule can also be a person who knowingly or unknowingly helps criminals launder money. Until now, the criminals have tried to recruit adults as mules, but now they are also targeting children.







What the criminals do

Most often, fraud takes place in pedestrian streets with many shops and many people. The criminal will approach a child with the story that he has forgotten his credit card at home. Next, the criminal asks the child if he can use its smartphone to transfer, say, DKK 5,000 to the child via MobilePay or another payment service, and then the child is asked to withdraw the same amount in cash for the criminal at an ATM.
Linus Fugl

An innocent and unsuspecting 12-year old risks becoming involved in crime in this way by letting the criminal use his or her account. In exchange for helping, the child may be offered a small amount, but the criminals quite simply also exploit the respect children often naturally have for adults. Obviously, we cannot condone this and would therefore like to help combat it.

Linus Fugl

Head of Transaction Services, Danske Bank 

Strike a blow for openness 
“Talk to your children and tell them never to help an adult – in the street or online – with money transfers. Not even if the adult looks like an ordinary adult in control of things,” says Linus Fugl.

In general, he also points out that openness is the criminals’ worst enemy. Openness between banks, customers, the police and, not least, between parents and their children. The explanation is that once a type of fraud becomes known to the general public, it tends to be less used.

In romance scams, where criminals start a virtual love affair with their victims to dupe them out of their money, the criminals count on the shame victims often feel if they are open about having been scammed.

What we do to protect our customers

In Corporate Responsibility 2018, you can read more about selected initiatives against fraud. On our “Keep it safe” online platform, we also offer our customers many specific tips.
Competent employees

More than 90 competent employees worked to fight against fraud in 2018. 
Screening of payments

In 2018, every month, more than 10 million payments were screened to detect those that stood out. 
Replacing cards proactively

3,242 cards were proactively replaced on average every month in 2018 due to data breaches.