FIU warns of scam in the height of COVID-19 pandemic in Guyana

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Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)

GEORGETOWN, Guyana– The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Guyana says it has become aware of nationals who are actively involved with international partners in the commission of what is referred to as “Package Delivery Scams or Romance Scams.”

The FIU said that the “Package Delivery or Romance” scammers had emerged more prominently during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This scam targets persons through several social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

The FIU said that the methodology used by the scammers is to befriend unsuspecting persons through these digital platforms.

“After some time used to build trust with their “new friend” or “love interest,” the scammer promises the intended victim some form of assistance. This, in most instances, is supposedly a “package” containing valuable gift items such as designer clothing, jewelry, televisions, cell phones, and other electronic devices.

“The victim is usually contacted by a local associate of the scammer, confirming the arrival of the package and requesting their contact and other information.  The intended victim is also subsequently contacted and requested to deposit money to a specified local Bank Account or sent via a money transfer agency (MTA).”

The FIU said that the victims are advised that the payment must cover brokerage fees, customs duties, penalties, and shipping charges for the package(s), which was found on inspection to contain precious items.

“Once this payment is made, the scammers discontinue all contact with the victim. In some instances, however, requests are made for additional payments, for various reasons which may sound plausible to unsuspecting individuals.”

The FIU said it is urging members of the population who these scammers have approached that they should not share any personal information, transfer or deposit money into the bank account of persons you meet online and do not know very well.

“If you believe you are a victim of the ‘Romance or Package Delivery Scam,’ report it immediately to the nearest Police Station,” the FIU added.

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