With the recent assigning of a special task force at the US Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica that has crackdown on the financial murder of vulnerable US citizens and the extradition of a number of scammers, the scammers have now started to target attorneys and top-level businessmen.
Clifford Chambers, Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Unit (C-TOC) said that taking root in Jamaica is the business email scam, which has seen millions of dollars being bilked from accounting departments by crooks posing as executives of top-tier companies.
Cleped the “Business Email Scam,” law enforcers have already confirmed at least one case of the scheme to scam business executives via email.
Mr. Chambers said a particular managing director scam was only discovered after the criminals made a second attempt to defraud money from the company;
I don’t want to call any names, but we have a situation where the managing director’s email was hacked and they got her password. They got information from the treasury, and they called and made a request, for example, a certain amount of funds to be remitted or transferred to an existing (fictitious) account.
Given the respect and rank with which the executive was held, they didn’t call to verify or authenticate the information provided to transfer or remit x amount to such account.
At a media briefing at his downtown Kingston office last Thursday, Mr. Chambers revealed;
“It is something that we are aware of, and business entities that require telephone calls or calls made from one section to another to generate funds to third parties need to verify and authenticate same.”
“It is a scam where persons would find a way to compromise a person’s email and then put out things, giving the appearance that it is coming from the manager. They will make demands from which they would thereafter benefit.”
“We were able to work with the organisation to stop the other money from going to its destined location, but we have to be working with international stakeholders to recover the other amount that was transferred.”
According to an article published by the “Sunday Gleaner” an alleged “Attorney or Lawyer Email Scam” is also taking place but victims of this illicit act have not made a report of this to the police.
Retired Federal Bureau of Investigations specialist, Wilfred Rattigan, said that the business email scam is one of the many rackets being conceived daily by Internet-savvy scammers, many of whom have been deported to the island.
More resources must be allocated to detecting online scams if Jamaica is to become the industrial hub that it is being peddled to become, according to Wilfred Rattigan.
Rattigan said that the possibility exists of an attorney or lawyer email scam, and it is not being reported by those scammed.
According to Rattigan;
This is where they call the attorney and say, “Hey! I was involved in a commercial transaction with this company. They are not paying and I am going to need you to represent me.”
Then, within a few days, the criminals would call the attorney again, explaining that the indebted company had contacted them and that the company had agreed to pay the sum of money by cheque through the attorney.
The unsuspecting attorney is then sent a fraudulent cheque by the racketeer, who ask him to send a portion of the money to them while retaining a portion for the service that he has provided.
The attorney later discovers that the cheque he had been given was not honoured by the bank, but this revelation comes after he had made payment from his own funds to the scammer.
However, Mr. Chambers added that the scam is not believed to be widespread because the scammer’s target high-end companies and while he could see the feasibility of the attorney scam, he had no evidence to suggest that it was being done in Jamaica.
Mr. Chambers also noted that the probe, which started in late December, is still ongoing.