The RCIPS Financial Crime Unit is advising the public of an online scam on Facebook Messenger and possibly other social media.
Calls and messages received over Facebook Messenger purport to be from Cayman Islands politicians McKeeva Bush, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly or Bernie Bush, according to police.
The scam involves people receiving flyers and other information informing them that they have been selected to receive a US$50,000 grant from the “United Nation Democratic Fund.” Potential victims are instructed that, in order to receive the grant, they have to send amounts ranging from US$150-$750 for government processing fees and shipping fees.
Victims are then instructed to send money via Western Union to recipients under various names, and then to send the Western Union receipts via Facebook Messenger, along with a copy of the victim’s ID.
“The RCIPS would like to make clear that this is an ongoing online scam and that there is no such facility offering such a grant to Caymanians,” police said in the statement.
The Financial Crime Unit advised users not to accept friend requests from strangers; not to click unknown links offering financial grants; not to send personal information, copies of passports or any other method of identification to anyone online; to change Facebook privacy settings so activities can only be seen by the user and his or her friends; and never to send money to strangers they meet online.
“We have seen a significant increase in these types of online scams in the Cayman Islands, or targeting locals, in recent months,” said Detective Chief Inspector Richard Barrow. “As such, it is more important than ever for people to remain aware and take all necessary precautions when using social media.”
Anyone who thinks their online information has been compromised or who has received such a request can contact the RCIPS Financial Crime Unit at [email protected] or 949-8797.