Criminals are exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to recruit money mules via social media to launder cash from human trafficking, terrorism financing or drug dealing, experts have warned.

Social media mule recruitment is being ramped-up in recent weeks after legitimate sources of income, such as hospitality or retail work, dried up almost entirely due to lockdown measures and people have become more vulnerable to scams.

Fraudsters are also using bereavement scams that target the relatives of people who have died from Covid-19 purporting to be debt collectors recovering debts incurred by the deceased, according to Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service.