The opposition N-VA party will present a resolution in the House of Representatives on Thursday that wants to tackle the money mule phenomenon. Often it is these vulnerable people who allow fraudsters to use their bank account and / or bank card with a PIN code. “The problem is exacerbated by the fact that banks are not allowed to share information with each other due to strict privacy laws,” Michael Freilich said. “We have to solve that.”
Through phishing, money is extorted through all kinds of scams and fake emails or text messages. “In order not to get caught, fraudsters use the bank account of third parties, the so-called money mules or ‘money mules’. These are the people who lend their bank account and/or bank card with a secret code for a fee. The stolen money can then be spent online Or transfer it to another account or withdraw it from the device.”
These money mules are often weak people, like young people who are eager for a side income. But these intermediaries can be easily identified. Real criminals are not affected, Freilich says, because financial institutions in our country can only block a bank account in which they observe suspicious transactions. “They are not officially allowed to share this information with other banks because the Anti-Money Laundering Act does not provide for it. Therefore, there is a much greater need for data exchange in order to be able to stop criminal networks and their formation early on.”
Strict privacy legislation plays a role as well, Freilich continues. “Anti-fraud is generally accepted as a legitimate interest in the processing of personal data, but banks may be reluctant to invoke this legal basis because not every suspected transaction turns out to be fraudulent. Fear of exorbitant fines from the data protection authority and damage to reputation would not be unrelated to this” .
That’s why Freilich suggests giving banks the means to tackle fraud files. “In the Netherlands, there has been a risk warning system for some time that enables banks to share information with each other and start investigating suspected fraud. If it is possible there, why not with us?”
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