The Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit, (FIU), Tafawa Pierre, says Grenadians have been fleeced out of millions of dollars (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) as a result of online financial scams.
Pierre is urging nationals to be extremely cautious about accepting online financial initiatives and that they should contact the FIU in determining whether the messages are authentic.
Pierre says he estimates that people here had lost seven million dollars over the past few years but there is every indication that the figures have increased.
“It’s now about EC$10 million they are defrauded. We have two particular persons who each lost in excess of EC$1.5 million that was sent over a one year period.
“We have a situation where a lady sold her house, right in Grenada here and sent every penny out to people whom she never met in the pursuit of some loan or business,” he said.
“If you are going to spend such amount of money then hire somebody to look after your business. You can spend EC$100,000 less by paying it to an attorney who looks into this thing and see if it’s true,” Pierre advised.
He said that the scammers are using different formats to attract persons and innovative ways for the illegal business to strive. These include forex market, offering grant funding from an agency but to receive the grant some money must be sent and fake cheque deposit.
“What we have done is try to speak to the institutions to make it difficult, but the people are using all sort of innovative ways to try to get institutions to function, what they are actually doing is making the system harder for decent people because after you get burned a few times the banks will get very strict on sending money,” Pierre said.
“Imagine people receive a cheque in the mail, these days a cheque in the mail should be view as suspect because you have wire transfer, money remittance so any paper cheque in the mail should be viewed with high suspicion.”
“People take this cheque and deposit it on their account and before the cheque is cleared remove their own money and send to people they have never met, we let me tell you, I have news for you, you have no money to get and you have to repay the bank,” Pierre added.