(CMR) The Financial Crime Investigation Unit of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) on Friday (June 19) highlighted some of the findings from the International Financial Action Task Force (FATF) report which noted that fraud and cybercrime have been on the increase.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in a May 4, 2020 report explained that the pandemic was linked to a wave of new fraudulent crimes, as criminals seek to profit from the current COVID-19 outbreak.
The RCIPS Financial Crime Investigation Unit said in highlighting findings of the report, they are advising the public to remain vigilant.
According to FATF, there have also been increases in not just fraud and cybercrime but in human trafficking and online child exploitation.
The FATF report further revealed that there has been an increase in criminals impersonating government officials to try to obtain personal banking information or physical cash from victims.
Other criminals have advertised themselves as selling essential goods, including medical supplies and medicines. They ask for payment in advance but never deliver the goods.
In other cases, the goods are delivered but they are either counterfeit or they are ineffective, including some criminals selling products that are marketed as miracle cures for COVID-19.
“Everyone needs to remain vigilant and do their research to make sure that any email requesting money or information is legitimate,” said Detective Chief Inspector Richard Barrow, of the Cayman Islands Bureau of Financial Investigations.
“This is especially true now, as people more than ever share personal information online and between various groups and persons, including personal financial information and work-related confidential information, as the world tries to pursue business as usual in a remote manner,” added Barrow.
Additionally, people should also be aware of fundraising appeals by fake charities.
Some of these charities, particularly those based overseas, could be fronts for terrorist financing. In the Cayman Islands, charities must be registered with the Registrar of Companies; persons seeking to make charitable donations should check the registration status of charities online at www.ciregistry.ky.
For more information on the Financial Action Task Force, and other information on COVID-19-related financial crime, a series of articles is available on the Financial Crime Investigation Unit page of the RCIPS website.