Regulator warns of scams using forged CIMA letters

| 15/12/2010

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) is warning the public not to fall for scams where the con artists are using forged letters that appear to have come from CIMA. The country’s financial regulatory authority says it has come across false documentation used by scammers that include fraudulent letters, purporting to be from CIMA itself on forged CIMA letterhead, with a fictitious signature. CIMA said that many of the most recent cons asking people to assist in the movement of large sums of cash have involved a fictitious entity called Mercury Bank and Trust Ltd Int’l but said people should not respond to any requests of this nature.

“Be on guard against unsolicited emails from persons seeking assistance to move large sums of money, or requesting that you act as next of kin for a deceased client, in return for a substantial portion of the funds,” CIMA said urging members of the public not to respond to any correspondence of this nature.

The emails usually claim to represent ‘banks’, including ones in the Cayman Islands, soliciting the person to open an ‘account’ to receive the money. However, to open the ‘account’, they must first pay an ‘activation fee’ and deposit money to satisfy a minimum balance that the ‘bank’ requires. CIMA’s experience has been that such correspondence is an attempt to defraud the person receiving it and such ‘banks’ and ‘accounts’ are fictitious.

Persons who carry out these advance-fee scams will go to any lengths, including forging government documents, to convince people that the transaction is legitimate and to give credence to the fraudsters’ request for more money to obtain officially-required clearances.

“Among the documents that have recently come to CIMA’s attention in connection with these scams, are fraudulent letters, purporting to be from CIMA itself. These letters, on forged CIMA letterhead, with a fictitious signature, sought to give the impression that the promised money was being withheld on CIMA’s instructions until certain documentation was provided,” the authority stated.

To help alert people to such fraudulent operations, CIMA maintains a list ofWebsites with Cayman addresses that are not registered or licensed by CIMA. This document lists entities that claim through their websites that they are banks or other financial institutions located in the Cayman Islands but which CIMA has determined do not physically exist here and are not licensed or regulated by CIMA.

People can view this list in the Enforcement / Information and Alerts section of CIMA’s website, The list currently covers over 50 entities. Mercury Bank and Trust Ltd Int’l has been on the list for some time.

All banks operating in and from the Cayman Islands must be licensed by CIMA. Updated lists of these licensed banks can be viewed on CIMA’s website in the section: Statistics and Regulated Entities / Banking. Alternately, one can search for the particular entity using the Search for Entities feature at the top of each page of the website.

Anyone who receives offers from someone claiming to represent (or to have a connection with) a bank based in the Cayman Islands, or if they have concerns that they may be dealing with a entity that purports to operate from the Cayman Islands but which is not on CIMA’s list of regulated entities, can alert CIMA by emailing
People should also contact CIMA if they receive correspondence that purports to be from CIMA in connection with any scheme to transfer money from any alleged Cayman account.

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  1. Perhaps says:

    Perhaps all of this could be avoided by CIMA if their stationary contained an embedded watermark of the CIMA logo, rather than nothing at all.