By EARYEL BOWLEG
A POLICE official revealed yesterday that fraud crimes at various local banks have increased from January 1 as he warned the public against allowing individuals to use their accounts.
Chief Superintendent Matthew Edgecombe of the Financial Crime Investigations Branch, made the revelation while speaking at a Commonwealth Bank press briefing.
ASP Audley Peters said police received reports with respect to individual’s accounts being activated or accessed as well as people attempting to approach customers and engage in money laundering.
At the press conference, Davine Dawkins-Rolle, Commonwealth Bank’s VP of internal audit and credit inspection, also spoke of a phishing scheme that has targeted the bank’s customers.
CSP Edgecombe explained: “From January 1 to now, we’ve seen an increase of such type of fraud that was spoken about and that (is) from various banking institutions.”
He pleaded with people to be careful in allowing others to use their account as it has been found that some people have been committing illegal acts under the guise of making a deposit on someone else’s account.
“Don’t allow people to use your account. That’s your personal account and many persons we’ve spoke to said ‘A friend ask me to use my account to deposit some monies. A friend asked me to just use my account to send some money to a family member someplace else’ – that is a no-no,” he warned.
“I just want to warn the Bahamian public don’t become a victim or participate in something that would hurt you in the end because during our investigation as we find out that you may have assisted somebody, you maybe charged with money laundering, a number fraud offences, which may land you in jail.”
He added: “Whatever goes through your banking account, you could be held liable criminally or civilly. So all I’m here to say is that please be aware of what you are doing.”
In terms of the phishing scheme, Ms Dawkins-Rolle said some customers received suspicious emails - many of them being in the form of an alert. The alert would indicate a banking transaction failed but had a link directing customers to a page that looked like the bank’s website where customers entered their online bank information.
The information would then be sent to a fraudster who used the details to access that account to make transfer to other customers of the bank.
Last August, police warned about a “trend of fraudulent activities” happening. These included third party transfer fraud, credit card fraud, fraudulent cheques and sham marriages.