Trinidadians scammed of millions of dollars

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BROOKLYN, NY – The Financial Intelligence Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (FIUTT) is reporting an increase in “romance scams and frauds,” especially during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID019) pandemic.

In a statement, the FIUTT said that it had recorded suspicious transaction and activity report submissions with approximately 100 suspected romance scam and fraud victims.

“These Suspicious Transaction/Activity Reports represent a loss of over TT$ 2.3 million (One TT dollar=US 0.16 cents) to vulnerable citizens in 18 months,” the FIUTT said in a statement.

It said persons should be wary of others promising relationships, gifts or to visit Trinidad and Tobago ”to engage or get married.”

In addition, it is warning against being instructed to “pay into a third party personal savings account in Trinidad and Tobago for foreign shipping payments” as well as “claim to be sending cash with a gift and Customs has held it until you pay a fee.”

The FIUTT is also warning people against being told to “pay fees for anti-money laundering clearance,” as well as being told that the “personal gift and cash are being shipped through diplomatic channels.”

The FIUTT said that persons receiving these instructions should stop communicating with the other person immediately and notify their banks “if you believe you have sent or deposited money to a scammer.”

“Never transfer money from your bank account or wire money to that love interest. You will never get it back,” the FIUTT said, urging people also to contact the police to report such activities.

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