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‘Deets & Squares’: Online Scam targeting children as young as 11

Young people are becoming ‘money mules’ as fraudsters target their bank accounts in ‘tempting’ scam

Police are warning youngsters against accepting large payments into their account from strangers, in order to receive a ‘cut’ of the money, as they risk becoming “money mules” for fraudsters.

The scam is known as ‘Deets’ and ‘Squares’ – ‘Deets’ being slang for bank details and a ‘Square’ being a credit or debit card.

Criminals are asking young victims, as young as 11 years old, to receive money into their account and transfer it to someone else – or in some cases, asking them to withdraw it in cash and hand it over in person.

While this can seem tempting for young people as a means to make money, especially students or those on low incomes, victims are actually breaking the law and could be ‘unknowingly’ laundering the proceeds of crime which runs the risk of a conviction and a ruined credit history which can affect future life opportunities.

Working together to Raise Awareness 

Police are asking schools, partners and parents to raise awareness to young people to help prevent them falling victim to this fast developing scam, providing the 5 tips below:

  • Parents should check their children’s bank statements with them regularly, ensuring every transaction can be accounted for.
  • Make sure youngsters know not to give anyone their PIN, pass-code, or password, even to someone claiming to be from their bank or the police.
  • If a child comes home with new clothes, trainers, electronic devices or other items that cannot be accounted for, ask them how they got the money to purchase them.
  • Explain that allowing someone else to use their bank details, regardless of how attractive or plausible the offer, is a potentially a serious criminal offence that could damage their financial future. That this means they may not be able to get a mobile phone contract, mortgage or car loan.
  • Teach them the simple rule that if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.

Ashok Vaswani, CEO of Barclays UK: “Crooks are using ever more sophisticated tactics to trick youngsters into handing over their bank details. It’s alarming that our young people are being increasingly targeted in schools and colleges, and aren’t aware of the dangers and implications of this crime. Young people need to be wary of anyone approaching them with the promise of cash for the use of their bank account” 

Working with banks & educating young people

Nationally, banks are being alerted to this method of exploiting young people and materials have been produced which aim to educate children and young people and, support parents to protect their children from this kind of exploitation.

Barclays Life Skills Programme provides access to training, which includes lesson materials and online tools to help young people understand when they are being targeted by fraudsters and how to avoid being duped into sharing their bank details. Other resources explore a range of financial dilemmas, including fraud and scams, and the broader financial risks that young people may face.

Educators across the UK can access more than 60 hours of LifeSkills lesson plans, tools and resources, with a dedicated section is provided for parents.

For more information about Barclays LifeSkills can be accessed via the link button below:

Barclays Life Skills