Police are warning young people to stay alert about money laundering scams as summer approaches.

Watford residents, mainly aged between their late teens and early twenties, are considered most at risk for being approached by criminals who offer payment in exchange for illegal access to their bank account.

The money laundering scheme often sees victims sharing their banking details, being transferred large sums of cash, which is then withdrawn in cash or moved to further accounts.

Whilst the technique may seem alluring at first, Hertfordshire constabulary are reminding Watford youth that the scheme is a criminal offence and that even victims of the scam could face a criminal conviction, resulting in the closure of a bank account.

Watford Chief Inspector Matt Phillips, said: “With the summer holidays upon us, there will be an increase in the number of young people out and about in the town, no doubt socialising with friends and enjoying the pleasant weather.

“However, we have had reports that young people have recently been approached in Watford town centre by people who engage them in apparently innocent conversation before trying to persuade them to hand over their bank details in exchange for a monetary fee.”

He added: “When victims discover they aren’t being paid as promised, they are often subjected to intimidation, threats and even assaults if they don’t continue to allow the offenders to move money through their account.

Further consequences of committing or falling victim to this offence includes the possibility of being unable to open future bank accounts, having to disclose the conviction to future employers and the victim becoming liable to repay any losses.

The technique, sometimes referred to as ‘money muling,’ often targets victims within the young-adult age bracket due to the idea of quick money and misconception of it having low-risks.