Today’s Editorial March 08: Be vigilant against e-scams

If all those scam emails were true and we all responded, we’d have enough money to pay off the government’s debt and buy a Cayman S Porsche for everybody living and visiting in the country.

But the email scams aren’t real; they’re just that – scams.

One that recently came in to some of the email addresses at the offices of Cayman Free Press told receivers that a relative in the far reaches of Africa had died and left millions of dollars. All those receiving the email had to do was reply with a bank account number so the money could be deposited.

Too good to be true? You bet.

There are many versions of scam emails being sent worldwide every day. And they seem to be increasing in the Cayman Islands.

Those receiving emails must be vigilant. First and foremost, know who you’re dealing with. If the email is from someone you don’t know or is unsolicited, send it to your junk email file.

Those who do fall prey to email scams are playing with a three-headed snake because they can be bit in three different ways.

Sometimes the emails request a blank company letterhead or bank account information. The letterhead can be used to make fake Visa sponsorship requests or to send recommendations to other companies that will be enticed into the scam. With your banking information they will draw up false financial instruments against your account and suck it dry. All of this adds up to identity theft.

A second bite comes in the form of fake fees. Once you reply your willingness to help, the sender explains you’ll have to pay transfer fees. The fees don’t stop and you never get those promised millions of dollars.

Those responding to the bogus emails are also possibly setting themselves up for blackmail, the third and fatal bite.

Some of the emails mention large sums of money allocated to you from a lottery draw. One innovative version targets churches and plays on the fact that a man disobeyed God, but had an encounter with Jesus and has now repented. He needs your details to give you a portion of 350 million pounds sterling to help with your ministry.

Don’t be duped by email scams.

Always keep your passwords and PIN numbers secure and be cautions of unsolicited emails or calls asking you to disclose personal details or card numbers. Neither your bank nor the police would ever call you asking for such information.

One of the best things you can do is invest in up-to-date anti-virus software.

If you believe you have been duped by an email scam, don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to admit it. Call the Financial Crimes Unit immediately at 949-8797.

There are many precautions you can take to protect yourself and your identity while using the Internet.

Just remember what your parents and grandparents taught you – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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