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Get-rich-quick schemes on social media

September 13, 2023

“Earn hundreds of dollars a month”….”Quick and easy money”…. These kinds of offers can be hard for unsuspecting teenagers or young adults to resist. Alison Beaudoin, CFE and Advisor with Desjardins’s Fraud Prevention Governance Department, explains these schemes and the consequences for young accomplices.

How get-rich-quick schemes work

Criminals launder money through various means, such as phishing. Using fake job postings or ads on social media and online, or by sending private messages, they then solicit young people between ages 14 and 25 to become what are known as “money mules.”

Scam artists aren’t targeting young people for their money, but for their account, so they can launder money without attracting any attention.

Alison Beaudoin

CFE and Advisor with Desjardins’s Fraud Prevention Governance Department

Besides having their reputation tarnished with the financial institution, young accomplices will have to repay the lost money and their account could be permanently closed. This jeopardizes their ability to have their pay deposited, or achieve goals like getting a car loan or mortgage.

Other consequences could include facing criminal charges, being denied admission to certain educational programs, or having difficulty finding employment in financial, security, legal and other fields.

Signs to watch out for

Young people often mistakenly believe it’s okay to give someone access to their account because there’s not much money in it, but it’s the action taken that’s fraudulent, and there are consequences.

Alison Beaudoin

CFE and Advisor with Desjardins’s Fraud Prevention Governance Department

If your child suddenly comes home with luxury goods, trendy clothes or pricey electronics you know they can’t afford, or they’re going out often to meet new friends, these should be red flags. Changes in behaviour (becoming stressed or anxious or refusing to leave the house, even to go to school, etc.) may be signs that your child is being threatened.

What you can do as a parent

Discuss get-rich-quick schemes with your children to prevent it from happening to them. If you suspect or know that your child has been caught in this kind of scheme, notify the financial institution to have their bank account blocked. File a report with the local police; various law enforcement agencies are well aware of this scheme. Depending on your child’s emotional state, reach out to a healthcare professional for psychological support.

Young people rarely talk about this with each other because they’re ashamed they got sucked in or or they feel guilty. They’re actually the victims of a very well-established scheme.

Alison Beaudoin

CFE and Advisor with Desjardins’s Fraud Prevention Governance Department

Teach your kids these best practices

  • NEVER give your debit card or PIN to anyone.
  • Confirm that the request is legitimate before sharing your account number.
  • Don’t share personal and confidential information, especially on social media.
  • Use strong privacy settings on social media (including private messages)
  • Don’t respond to requests from people you haven’t met in person or don’t know very well.
  • When in doubt, ask a parent or trusted adult for help.
  • If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

You can also share this article on the subject with them.