Children from across the north-east are being warned to watch out for a scam that could land them in prison for up to 14 years.
Police say criminals are targeting youngsters in person and online to get them become “money mules” – allowing their bank accounts to hold ill-gotten funds.
Detectives have not given details of any such incidents happening in the north-east, but said 29 people were arrested and charged in the Central Belt this week in connection with money-mule activity.
Police Scotland sent a letter to Education Scotland highlighting the dangers.
The letter is to be provided to the parents of every secondary school pupil and it is understood some north-east families have already received it.
It reads: “Criminals need money mules to launder the profits of their crimes.
“Mules will usually be unaware of where the money comes from – often fraud and scams – and that it can go on to fund crimes such as drug dealing and people trafficking.
“Fraudsters will approach young people online or in person, including through social media and at school, college or sports clubs.
“Being a money mule is illegal. When someone is caught, their bank account will be closed and they will have problems getting student loans, mobile phone contracts and credit in the future.
“They could even face arrest for money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.”
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Police said parents should look out for children who suddenly have extra cash, expensive new clothes or gadgets without explanation and for children who appear secretive or stressed.
Detective Inspector Graeme Everest said: “We want to raise awareness of this and would urge anyone who has been approached to be involved in a scheme like this, please contact us on 101.”