By Carlena Knight
Residents who have Facebook accounts are being advised to be vigilant and aware of the latest online scam as a fake profile for another prominent government official has emerged.
According to Minister of Education, Sports and Creative Industries, Daryll Matthew, fraudsters have created a fake Facebook profile of him in the hopes of soliciting funds from users.
He is of course urging residents to stay alert and not fall into this trap.
“It has been brought to my attention that there is a fake profile, which I have known has been passing for the last year or so; as I keep reporting and blocking them, they keep getting more creative. There is now a fake profile soliciting donations on my behalf. I would just like the public to know I have never asked for donations like this, and so please, do not be fooled, or tricked or convinced by whomever these scammers are to send money to any PayPal or any sort of mechanism. It is a scam. You will not receive your money back, so please, be very careful,” Matthew said.
“Do not accept any new friend requests from me. If you look closely at the name of the profile, it is very cleverly created ‘darryl s.matthew_’. So, what they have done is included the underscores to differentiate from my real profile but keep it close enough so that persons who are not paying attention could be fooled, so I am asking the public to be very, very careful about scams like these.”
Matthew is just the second official in recent times to fall victim to this type of deceit.
Earlier this month, the Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams, had to warn residents after it was revealed that a Facebook and Instagram page was created bearing his name and picture.
At least two local residents have apparently been defrauded of thousands of dollars in an online scam by crooks posing as the Governor General.
Police confirmed they were aware of a similar scam some years ago, but said that they did not have details of recent incidents.
This hoax of creating fake profiles of prominent government officials and even businesses is something that has been an issue over the years. Just last year, crooks created a fake APUA post to trick customers into believing that they had won gifts and other electronic devices from the company, in an attempt to garner personal information.