#Providenciales, January 9, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – Over the past four years, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force Financial Crime Unit have seen a major increase in internet fraud incidents. There have been two ways identified in which the fraudsters are able to perpetuate their schemes:
The fraudsters would send phishing emails to persons purporting to be from local banks here on the island, asking them (the victim) to update their online banking information. They (the fraudster) would ask that the customer provide the current user id and password along with their new id and password. Unsuspected customers would respond to the fraudulent emails believing they are on the banks’ website thereby compromising their account information. Now having access to the customer account, the fraudster would then send similar phishing emails to other customers of the same bank whether via email or Facebook offering employment to evaluate the effectiveness of money transmitters operating here in the TCI. However, in order to do so, the second customer would need to provide their bank account details to the prospective employer. Now armed with the online details of the first customer, the fraudsters would transfer funds from the first to the second account to have the funds wired by the second customer to various countries around the world. Persons receiving such employment offers should not accept these offers as they would only be enabling the criminals to commit the crimes.
Persons should never respond to emails purporting to be from your bank asking to update your online banking information. Banks would never ask you to update your online information as this is solely your discretion. If uncertain please contact your local bank.
The police have also noticed that fraudsters are believed to be intercepting email communications of persons here in the TCI wiring funds to businesses or individuals. Having done so they would create an email address identical to one the individual in the TCI has been communicating with in an effort to control all future communications. The fraudsters would then direct the individuals in the TCI to wire the funds to a different location than that which was first agreed. This can and has resulted in substantial loss to customers in the TCI.
The police are urging all persons and businesses to pay particular attention to the email address that is directing them under these circumstances and not to wire funds unless the intended recipient of the funds is contacted by phone and details are confirmed. Carefully examine the email address that is instructing you to wire the funds, the slightest of change from the original email is a red flag.
Residents are also reminded to be very careful when making purchases online especially when the person or business advertising the item/s for sale is asking for the funds to be sent to a different location from which the item/s are located or would be shipped. Telephone conversations and other verification process are crucial in order to prevent loss.
In any doubt please contact the Financial Crime Unit at 649 941 4450 or any local law enforcement.
Release: TCI Police