Be on alert for scams

Residents in the Cayman Islands are being reminded to be on their guard against scammers at all times. The warning has been prompted by a number of reports made to the Financial Crime Unit about suspicious and bogus emails being received locally. Some of the most recent scams include:

Cry for help email:

Con artists hack into people’s email accounts and send a message to all contacts claiming to be the account holder and stating that they are in trouble overseas. The email asks all recipients to send cash to a money transfer account in another country. Needless to say the account holder is not in any trouble and the money will be picked up by the con artists.

Job offer scam:

Residents are contacted by email or an advert is placed in local classifieds advertising a well-paid job with very good benefits or a part time opportunity which would reap high financial returns. The unsuspecting job seeker will engage in communication with the prospective employer who will then likely send some form of pre-payment or over-payment

to the employee in the form of a cheque. The employer will then request the money back for a ‘family emergency’ fairly rapidly. The victim is then forced to send some of their own money before the cheque has cleared. The cheque then bounces and the employer is never heard from again. This scam can also be used to obtain people’s personal details that can be used for identity theft.

Business opportunity:

You may receive communication from someone proposing to be a public official offering an opportunity to be involved in a large commercial venture. The offer involves very large financial returns and requires the victim to finance a portion of the contract up-front. The cash will be requested via a money transfer agency and will be for tasks such as legal fees, registration costs, project fees etc.

Inheritance scam:

This scam involves people receiving emails claiming that someone has died and there is an inheritance or estate to collect. Recently, emails have been circulating pertaining to be from the FBI informing the recipient that there is money they can legally collect from either a death or a lottery. The FBI has confirmed that this is a hoax and anyone who receives it should not respond.

Password and user name:

Residents have reported receiving emails, either claiming to be from their account provider or a company that monitors mailbox size, requesting the account holder’s username and password. Genuine email account providers would never ask for this information and residents should remember to NEVER give out personal details or passwords to an

unknown third party.

Overpayment to a company:

Businesses are targeted by potential customers often making large or lucrative purchases or bookings. The ‘customer’ will then request that extra payments are made on a credit card to pay for ‘agent fees’, ‘shipping costs’ or ‘air fare’. The card details given will be fake. It can be hard to distinguish between genuine and non-genuine emails and faxes, particularly if you receive a large amount of communication. If you receive an email, fax or letter that you are concerned about, you are urged to be very cautious. One way of checking is to do an Internet search on the names of the organisations or corporations involved and you are likely to find the latest warnings and advisories on them. Residents are urged to ignore all suspicious communications and delete them or throw them away.

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