Naturally, I was concerned “what happen, what wrong?” she had the phone clutched to her chest, she took another look, and finally she said “this can’t be real” sad but hopeful tone.
“Man, you think this real?” she asked me in a hopeful voice. “What?” i asked again, she hesitated before finally passing me the phone.
I read the text out loud… and started laughing. lolol.
“thats a scam!”
I had never seen the scam or text before but i recognized it for what it was immediately. A scam.
I was laughing because from her strong reaction i knew that in the brief 10 seconds it took to read that text all of her dreams had been answered and she had probably imagined a thousand things she could spend that money on.
And that’s what the scam artists are hoping for!
Police have recently warned that fraud and scams are on the rise. In the first four months of 2010 they have recorded over $2 million in misappropriated funds due to fraudsters and scam artists. 3 scams that have become common in Nassau are
1. The Personal Assistant/Handyman Scam
If you glanced through the want ads a local paper you have probably seen this.
- An ad is placed looking for a Personal Assistant, helper or handyman.
- The victim responds and is interviewed over the phone.
- The employer is away and needs someone to run errands.
- They never meet.The victim is hired on the phone.
- All that the employer needs is account information to deposit salary
- Dirty money is then deposited to the account
- The new employee is then asked to withdraw funds and give to a third party, keeping a portion as wages
Sounds like a sweet deal right? The problem comes when you get locked up for fraud or money laundering and have to explain to the police where you got the funds from. You’re left holding the bag and doing the time, while the scammer moves on to his next victim.
2. Vehicle for Sale scam
If there’s one thing Bahamians like, its cars. How about a 2006 Lexus GS300 for just $10,500.00? Bahamians will be all over that! The Scam works like this
- Scammers advertise a late model vehicle for an attractive price
- The victim calls to buy the vehicle
- The victim is told that the car has been sold already
- The Scammer tells the victim that he is currently at a auction site in the USA
- He convinces victim that he found a car just like that one and can have it in Nassau in 7 days
- Victim just has to deposit 50% of funds on an account
You can guess the rest. Victim deposits money and shortly thereafter cannot contact scammer on any of the numbers they usually spoke on.
3. Credit Card Skimming Scam
Have you ever been to a restaurant or store and paid with your credit card? Did you watch them scan your card or did you just give them the card and let them take it to do as they please?
Credit Card skimming is where a small electronic device like the one shown in the picture is used to capture the information off your card. This information is then printed on a blank card and voila! Free Cash for villains… Your Cash!
So how do you avoid being the victim in these scenarios?
1. Use Common Sense, Don’t send money to strangers!
2. Always insist on face to face meetings with employers
3. Don’t give your account information or any personal information to strangers
4. Don’t let your credit card leave your sight.
5. Don’t get pressured into anything. If it seems someone is rushing you to make a decision. Stop and ask why? Think rationally.
6. IF IT SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. THATS BECAUSE IT IS!!!
With the economy in the tank and Bahamians continuing to live lavishly something has to give. Unscrupulous persons are preying on the weak and gullible. Don’t be a victim.