Trinidad Guardian:- There has been a substantial increase in Romance Scam/Fraud since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with some 100 victims lodging reports with claims that they have been scammed a total of TT$2.3 million.
This disclosure was made via an advisory to the public to be aware of such scams by the Financial Intelligence Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (“the FIUTT”).
The FIUTT revealed it has recorded Suspicious Transaction/Activity Report (STR/SAR) submissions with approximately 100 suspected Romance Scam/Fraud victims. According to the FIUTT, over the past 18 months, these STRs/SARs represent a loss of over TT$2.3 million to “vulnerable” citizens in this country.
As such, the FIUTT is urging the public to be on high alert for the following indicators of Romance Scam/Fraud from persons who:
● promise relationships;
● promise gifts;
● promise to visit T&T to engage or get married;
● instruct you to PAY funds into a third party’s personal savings account (in T&T) for foreign shipping payments;
● claim to be sending cash with a gift, saying Customs has held it until a fee is paid;
● persons who claim you have to pay fees for anti-money laundering clearance;
● persons who claim that your personal gift and cash is being shipped through Diplomatic channels.
The FIUTT recommends that if someone suspects an occurrence of a Romance Scam/Fraud, they should:
● Stop communicating with the person immediately!
● Never transfer money from your bank account or wire money to that ‘love interest’! You will never get it back!
● Contact your bank immediately if you believe you sent or deposited money to a scammer!
● Talk to someone you trust. If your friends or family say they are troubled about your new ‘love interest’, then take heed…pay attention!
● Do your own internet searches on the person/whom they claim to be! You can also browse the comments on blogs about romance scams to hear other stories.
● Do a reverse image search of the person’s profile picture. That way, you will see if it’s linked to another person name or details that don’t match!
“Those are signs of a scam,” the FIUTT said.