Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.
By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
NATIONAL Security Minister Marvin Dames yesterday warned the public not to give money to people posing as politicians online as police revealed Bahamians have lost more than $100,000 to cyber criminals this year.
Mr Dames said an individual was recently defrauded of $14,000 after they were solicited for a charity by someone purporting to be him on Facebook.
He told reporters outside Cabinet police had uncovered up to 19 fake profiles on the social media platform some months ago, adding the figure was likely much higher now.
"This is something we have been dealing with now since we came into government more than a year ago," he said.
"A number of ministers, including myself, persons have been creating false Facebook accounts for me. I think a week ago, an individual went to the Central Detective Unit to report being defrauded of some $14,000. The individual assumed at the time that they were donating funds to a good cause started by myself, only coming to find out that it had nothing to do with me."
He continued: "I want to take this opportunity to advise members of the public that we have no such Facebook account out there asking persons to donate money to a cause, and a number of persons have fallen victim to this. This is of grave concern, the police have been investigating and have been working with Facebook to try to mitigate this issue, but it seems to be growing.
"I was just informed just yesterday that my actual account now, that someone has a picture up of me and is responding on my behalf so it is a serious problem this is the world we are living in today and all I would say here is to advise members of the public to be extremely careful and do not commit funds to anything online having to do with any politician or any member of Parliament or any Cabinet ministers because chances are they are all fake."
In a press statement, police warned of an increase in fraudulent accounts of public figures on Facebook with impersonators asking for favours and money from connected friends.
"According to our Digital Forensic Investigation Unit, unsuspecting Bahamians have lost in excess of $100,000 from these cyber criminals for the period January 1, 2018 to present," read the police statement.
"One of the best ways to avoid becoming a victim of these online scams is to contact the account holder outside of the app or social media platform to verify that he or she is the originator of any requests."
People who believe they have been victimised by an online scam or cyber fraud are asked to contact the Digital Forensic Investigation Unit at 502-9991/2.