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Cheque, online scam uncovered in the west

Thursday, July 03, 2014    

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FRAUD Squad detectives in western Jamaica yesterday advised members of the public, especially business operators, to be on the lookout for unscrupulous persons who have been using various methods to fleece persons of cash.

According to the constabulary's Corporate Communication Unit (CCU), men claiming to be contractors of the National Water Commission (NWC) have tendered cheques at supermarkets, cambios and other businesses, and presented identification cards resembling those issued by the NWC.

However, the police reported that it was subsequently discovered that the ID cards and the cheques were fraudulent, resulting in business owners losing $2.4 million.

Police said the fraudulent cheques bear the serial numbers 117833, 117836, 117852, 117855-9 and 117905-6.

The police said, too, that another US$47, 000 has been lost in a scheme that preys on business owners utilising online banking options.

"This has hit operators based in Montego Bay, St James; Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland; and Duncans, Trelawny," said a CCU release.

"The culprits target those persons to whom a line of credit has been extended by overseas suppliers, sending e-mails which claim that the bank is experiencing difficulties and asking the unsuspecting person to deposit their payments to a new account," the release added.

According to the CCU, two men have been arrested in the probe so far, adding that the Area One Fraud Squad has joined forces with the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Task Force and other partners "to ferret out any remaining perpetrators and bring them to justice".

In the meantime, members of the public were urged to take all necessary precautions when conducting business online and in person.

Persons who believe they may have been a victim of any of the schemes are asked to contact Area One Fraud Squad at 971-3346, Crime Stop at 311, 811 or 119.

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