December 30, 2011
Scam alert! Beware!

by: the Financial Intelligence Unit Fri, Dec 30. 2011

You have won the lottery of 2,500,000 and have not yet claimed the prize. To claim your prize email or text us at 1000@wincash.com. Ask yourself this question: Have you purchased a lottery ticket? As our national lottery says, “You have to be in it to win it”; hence if you have not purchased a ticket then, it is a scam!{{more}}

My name is Loverman of Mumbai and I’m looking for a suitable female. Would you be my friend? Interaction with a person claiming to live outside of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, professing friendship, romantic interest, and /or marriage intentions over the Internet is not a wise decision. Typically, once a connection is made, the correspondent asks the Vincentian citizen to send money or credit card information for living, medical and or travel expenses. Sometimes, the correspondent notifies you, the Vincentian citizen, that a close family member, usually the mother, is in desperate need of surgery and begins to request monetary assistance. It’s a scam!

Your account is frozen. In order to have this rectified you have to go online to verify your account information or call us at 1-800-536-7890. This SMS text message which appears to come from your bank or an online retailer requires you to give details of your account information. It’s a scam!

My name is Mr. Rich. Invest with me and make a $10,000.00 in two (2) days. Beware of Mr. Rich who usually is a total stranger claiming to be an investor and can make you wealthy in a wink of an eye. The aim is for you to take out lump sum of monies from your account in order to satisfy investment requirements. These persons are con-artists who disappear with your legitimate earnings never to be seen again. It’s a scam!

Come on, choose the red card and win double the amount you bet. This is the popular three (3) card game which has the ability to rob you of your legitimate earnings. The persons conducting this game are usually very swift in moving the cards around. You may think you know where the card is but you don’t. It’s a scam!

By this time, you are taken aback by the foolishness of any person who would fall for the aforementioned scams and say it will never happen to me, I am too smart for that. However, facts have shown that these very persons who are “too smart” turn out to be victims of these scams which cause them to lose thousands of dollars, in extreme cases their life savings.

The anonymity of the Internet means that one cannot be sure of the correspondent’s real name, age, marital status, nationality, gender, or even if it is a legitimate dealer or website. In all reported cases, the correspondent turned out to be a fictitious persona created only to lure persons into sending monies. These scammers have created male as well as female characters and entice same sex correspondents as well as those of the opposite sex. In extreme cases, it is reported that scammers go as far as posing as HIV positive individuals asking for money to buy treatment or to travel abroad to seek medical attention.

The FIU is urging citizens to beware of correspondents who quickly move to professions of romantic interest or discussion of intimate matters as these are likely inventions of scammers. A request for funds almost always marks a fraudulent correspondent. Citizens are cautioned against sending any money to persons they have not actually met or know.

At Christmas time, traditionally a season of giving, “charity scams” are prevalent; as persons urge you to donate to a sick person, disaster relief funds and charities. These scams are usually done via email, text or phone call.

The Scammer’s main objective is to extract valuable personal information from their targets; using the same for financial gain at their expense. Fraudsters know that people are more vulnerable to scams during the holiday season as consumers are doing more online shopping and checking bank balances frequently. Shoppers should be cautious of products offered at prices far below competitors. Online scammers use auction sites and fake websites to offer too-good-to-be-true deals with the goal of stealing your money and information. You know the saying if it’s too-good-to-be-true then it is!

It is Christmas time and you may want that special jingle, screen-saver, ringtone, and or animations. This is an easy way for scammers to spread viruses and other computer threats. Links often come from an email or message that appears to be from a friend, thus allowing the scammers to glean personal information from the computers it has infected.

The FIU advises the general public to use well-established trusted sites and networks. Do not respond to offers that arrive in a spam email, text or instant message. Preview a link’s web address before you click on it to make sure it is going to an established site. Never download or click anything from an unknown source. Stay away from vendors that offer prices well below the norm. Do not believe anything that is too good to be true. Exercise great caution and care with your money this Christmas. Be SCAM SMART!

The FIU takes this opportunity to wish you a scam free Christmas.

There are websites where you can learn more about these scams such as www.antiscam.net.Visit us at www.svgfiu.com for more information on Scams and related articles.