Absurd scams still a concern for police

| 04/11/2008

(CNS): Despite persistent warnings and the obvious absurd nature of many e-mail, internet and fax scams circulating not just in Cayman but around the world, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s Financial Crimes Unit (FCU) is once again having to urge Cayman residents to be on their guard against these fraudulent communications that could result in loss of money to anyone who takes the claims seriously.

In the most recent case detectives said they have received a number of reports from businesses receiving faxes from a company claiming tobe the Internal Revenue Services (IRS). The fax claims the IRS requires personal and professional information to ensure that the recipient remains exempt from paying United States of America Tax.

Police said that investigations with the genuine IRS have proved that this is a scam designed to obtain details such as bank account numbers, mother’s maiden names and passport numbers. The IRS stresses that the genuine IRS Form W-8BEN does not ask for any personal information, except, in some cases, for a Social Security or IRS-generated Taxpayer Identification Number. In addition, genuine W-8BENforms are sent to recipients by their financial institution, not by the IRS directly. Anyone receiving this type of unsolicited communication is asked to discard it immediately.

Detectives are also investigating a number of reports relating to email scams. One of the most common sees the victim informed that they have won money or goods in a competition or lottery they have never entered. The scammers request that cash be sent for administration fees or to release the prize. Once the money is sent, the victim will never hear from the scammers again. The most recent reports relate to an Australian Lottery in association with Euro Millions & UK National Lottery. All emails or letters detailing wins of this kind should be ignored.

Police also warned against scams requesting to use a bank account to deposit a large sum of money usually involving a secret account, unexpected inheritance, over-paid government contracts or ‘forgotten money’ left in an African account. There are often fees or taxes requested to be paid by the victim before the money is deposited. Once these fees are paid the money will never appear.

Another common scam is where businesses are sent communications from someone proposing to be a public official offering an opportunity to be involved in a large commercial opportunity. The offer will involve very large financial returns and will require the victim to finance a portion of the contract up front. The cash will be requested via money transfer agencies such as Western Union and will be for tasks such as legal fees, registration costs, project fees etc. Once the money is sent, the victim will hear no more about the business opportunity.

Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling crime stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.

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  1. Gotta wonder says:

    These scammers must think that people are really naive.  Anyone with common sense knows that you don’t send personal information to an unknown entity.  Legitimate business ventures generally don’t ask for money up front, either.   Sometimes, just to annoy them like they’ve annoyed me with their time consuming junk mail, I send a reply stating, "Here is my name and address.  Just send the check!"