OVER 700 MONEY mule transactions with a total value of more than 5 million took place using Irish bank accounts during the first half of this year.
Money mules are people who allow their bank accounts to be used by criminals.
New figures released today show that the vast majority of the incidents identified involved bank accounts belonging to people aged between 18 and 24.
Money laundering legislation has made it more difficult for criminals to open Irish bank accounts, prompting them to recruit others in order to gain access to the proceeds of their crimes.
Some people are recruited unwittingly, often through a too-good-to-be-true earning opportunity.
Teenagers are particularly at risk as they are often unaware of the true nature of the activity that they are undertaking.
They are typically recruited via social media, word of mouth or through get rich quick and fake job advertisements.
Because most incidents involve young people, the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) today made an appeal to young people and their parents to be aware of the dangers and potential lifelong consequences of getting involved in money muling. 
The BPFI urged young people to beware of unsolicited messages promising easy money for little or no effort.
They are being told never to agree to open a new bank account in their own name in order to receive payments on behalf of a criminal.
People are also being warned not to accept any job offers that ask them to use their own bank account to transfer money a real company will not do this.
Parents and guardians were issued with a series of red flags that indicate their child may be a victim of money muling.
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Be on the lookout for signs of your child suddenly having extra money or becoming secretive, withdrawn or stressed, the BPFI said.
Other red flags include increased spending on new clothes or technology with very little explanation as to how they got the money.
People who think their child may have become a victim of money muling are urged to contact their local Garda station and inform their bank immediately.
Money muling is a criminal offence under the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 and it can carry up to 14 years imprisonment.
The consequences of becoming involved in muling are serious and can have a lifelong effect, Brian Hayes, BPFI Chief Executive, said.
Teens who are recruited as money mules can be threatened with violence or physically attacked if they do not continue to allow their account to be used by the criminals to transfer money.
As well as having a criminal record, money mules who are caught face having their bank account closed and will have difficulty opening another account and accessing loans or other credit facilities in the future, Hayes added.