PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to measure the size of the money laundering and terrorism financing problem, identify threats and trends, the techniques employed and the amount of funds involved to determine whether the information obtained about money laundering and terrorism financing in real-world environments can be transferred to virtual environments such as Second Life and World of Warcraft. Design/methodology/approachAnalysis of 184 Typologies obtained from a number of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) bodies to: determine whether trends and/or patterns can be identified in the different phases of money laundering or terrorism financing, namely, the placement, layering and integration phases; and to establish whether trends and/or behaviours are ubiquitous to a particular money laundering or terrorism financing Type. FindingsMoney launderers and terrorism financers appeared to have slightly different preferences for the placement, layering and integration techniques. The more techniques that are used, the more cash can be successfully laundered or concealed. Although terrorism financers use similar channels to money launderers, they do not utilise as many of the placement, layering and integration techniques. Rather, they prefer to use a few techniques which maintain high levels of anonymity and appear innocuous. The sums of monies involved in money laundering and terrorism financing vary significantly. For example, the average maximum sum involved in money laundering cases was AUD 68.5M, as compared to AUD 4.8 for terrorism financing cases. Originality/valueThis paper provides some insight into the relationship between predicate offence, the predominant techniques utilised in carrying out that offence and the sums of money involved.