Lloyds Bank ‘mule hunters’ freeze more than £1m from fraudsters

Written by Oliver Wade

Lloyd’s Banking Group’s ‘mule-hunting team’ has already stopped more than £1m from being transferred to fraudster’s accounts since its launch at the beginning of 2018, the bank has announced.

The team was formed to stop the movement of money from scams, shutting down fraudsters’ attempts to shift money using defences developed by the bank as part of an “industry-leading” pilot. The bank said that it has introduced new techniques to “rapidly” analyse data, spot tell-tale signs, patterns and behaviours to “halt fraudsters”.

The frozen funds that have already been intercepted by the team will be returned to the sending bank in order to help them get the money back to the victims.

Criminals are recruiting money mules by offering ‘quick cash’ across social media platforms, and last year saw 8,652 people aged between 18 and 24 in the UK working with fraudsters between January and September.

If caught moving fraudulent funds, mules risk being left without a bank account and a damaged credit score, meaning that they may be unable to apply for a mortgage, loan or even a phone contract in the future, while also potentially facing a prison sentence of 14 years.

The bank has said that it now intends to roll out the developments, incorporating the new methods into its existing fraud systems, to “help stop fraudsters getting away with their ill-gotten gains”.

Lloyds Banking Group retail fraud director Paul Davis 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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