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By Adia Wynter

The public is being urged to remain vigilant to cybercrimes as police report a surge in offences due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Commissioner of police, Atlee Rodney, told people to exercise particular caution when conducting online transactions.

“There has generally been a decrease in general crimes. What you find, there are new crimes that now are emerging, for instance, with cybercrimes,” Rodney told Observer yesterday.

The coronavirus’ financial fallout means more individuals are likely to encounter fraudulent fundraisers as well as medical and pyramid schemes, he explained.

The latter is a fraudulent system of making money based on recruiting an ever-increasing number of “investors”. The initial promoters recruit investors, who in turn recruit more investors.

“There is a tendency that some persons are going to take advantage of some of us… Recently in Antigua we had this thing going around,” he mentioned, referencing the growth in popularity of micro-finance schemes.

Rodney went on to explain that the effects of Covid-19 are pushing more individuals to act out of character.

“Because of Covid-19, there is additional stress level in the community, and it is not everybody that has the mechanisms to deal with the stress: the loss of your job, the loss of your livelihood.

“So, there is a greater possibility of persons being burnt out and doing things they don’t normally do,” he noted.

Rodney added, “These are some of the things you would see emerging and we have to be mindful of that.”

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