Money Laundering on Snapchat
Simply put, money laundering is a misuse of money. The complete process of money laundering includes placement, layering and integration. To elaborate, it is a process where a large amount of illegitimately obtained money — through any activity proscribed by law — is converted to a legitimate, more importantly legal, form. For example: drug trafficking or illegal drug trade which deals with the distribution of prohibited drugs.
When it comes to social media platforms, criminals are everywhere and it's therefore very difficult to identify who plays what role and who is not engaging in outlawed activities, which can range from circulating compromising pictures of minors to selling weapons. If we talk about a very loved and popular platform such as Snapchat, we find unknown people having very awkward names sending us their selfies or messages and following us. That looks very cheap and embarrassing.
Legal Precedents/Relevancy in Eyes of Law
Money Laundering is illegal under Section 120 B of the Money Laundering Act, criminals have profited from the crime and they engage in more than one illegal activity. The initial crime is when funds are secured by the criminal illegally and the second one is to legitimize the procedure by misusing the powers of the financial institutions. Money laundering applies only to transactions that have been made through credit cards or debit cards online. This is an organized crime. The criminals are engaged in identity theft where they obtain the PIN or CVV code by illegal means and use that to steal all the money from the bank account.
SNAPCHAT: Rise of Criminals!
Gangs are always loitering and finding victims over social media and looking for different ways to earn money. In many places, money mules have become one of their favorite methods over Snapchat. We find that young people and teens are often convinced by money launderers or criminals over social media. They become so blind that youngsters trust these vulnerable people and provide their personal bank account numbers. This creates very serious consequences for those people who get involved from being locked out of the economic system to even serving time in prison. Such crimes are unreported which leaves many people vulnerable. Different organizations have started investigating this blooming kind of crime that Snapchat users are facing quite often and making efforts to combat such things.
There is a real life case of a young woman who met an unknown person over Snapchat and was lured into the money laundering scam after seeing an advertisement which was posted by that person. Let me brief a case of 2018 where a person named Rochelle who was just 15 years old was approached to money mule on Snapchat and consequently, she faced a lot of financial loss. In 2019, there was a snapchat incident where a girl was attracted to an advertisement which said "Looking for a legit way to make cash? Give 100 rupees and get 10,000 in return with 100% cashback". These sort of lines are used by the money launderers to attract young victims. Children are the easy targets as they don't earn money and neither have any means to earn their own money. They automatically get attracted by the social media advertisements, latest gadgets and clothes and easily get trapped into it without realizing this to be a crime. Recently, a girl who was a psychology student, model and influencer got trapped unknowingly in a fake emotion showed by a man over snapchat. This result in a huge loss as she created a new bank account connected with her present account for the man as asked and later the case went straight to the court. Indeed, snapchat scams or advertisements are so eye catching that even a pregnant woman was lured into a £14,800 money laundering scam. These scams can make the criminals go to jail as it falls under Online Fraud, Hacking and Phishing.
Snapchat has a very bad feature that people from anywhere can send you messages which can be obscene as well. This kind of feature should be changed by the internal management team of Snapchat. The state, schools, and teachers have warned students and asked parents to monitor their children to stop using Snapchat. The new money-making scam in Snapchat will enable the money launderers or cybercriminals to see the bank accounts of the children and hence exploit them. They target children in the age group of 16 years to 18 years for storing criminal funds. Young age groups often fall into traps by these people who gain their trust, either in the form of friendship or love, and take out information from them.
Hence, it can be deduced that crimes have no end, especially the ones which are happening nowadays in this Virtual world. Innocent minds are being trapped and their accounts are misused, resulting in taking away all the money from their banks. Young people spend most of their time on their phones and they love using Snapchat. It is the responsibility of the schools and parents to monitor them and make them aware of the consequences. They should know that every stranger they meet over social media is not trustworthy and thus use it very diligently.