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Global scams targeting Cayman

Front Pages 09 Aug, 2023 Follow News

Global scams targeting Cayman

Two frauds are currently being perpetrated on people in Cayman and the RCIPS is warning people not to be fooled.

One is a scam known widely as ’Pig-Butchering’, whereby overseas criminal groups are targeting victims in the Cayman Islands.

The scam is a type of fraud in which criminals lure victims into digital relationships to build trust before convincing them to invest in cryptocurrency platforms. Unbeknownst to victims, the fraudsters control the platforms and will eventually take all the money and vanish.

The name of this fraud comes from the Chinese phrase, Shāzhūpán, whereby the scams are usually perpetrated over a long period of time. They combine elements of romance scams, investment schemes, and cryptocurrency fraud. Fraudsters build a relationship with their victims, metaphorically fattening the pig before deceiving them into making investments in fake business ventures before the “butchering” and scamming them of their every penny.

The RCIPS says anyone can fall victim to this type of scam, however the most common victims have been persons between the ages of 30 and 60. A wide cross-section of victims have been seen globally, even including police officers, those familiar with investment products, graduate students, engineers, consultant doctors and those working in the virtual currency space. Unlike the stereotypical scam victim, many of them are highly educated and digitally savvy.

Victims commonly lose between KYD25,000 – KYD$100,000, although others lose many hundreds of thousands, with some unfortunately tricked into parting with over KYD $millions. Unfortunately, it is the case that very few victims can get any money back. Whilst the actual frauds are often perpetrated by smaller scale fraud shops or teams of scammers, criminals mostly use a third-party money laundering service to obfuscate and hide the stolen funds within a huge and sophisticate network turning over billions of dollars before being cashed out, usually to Chinese crime syndicates operating in South East Asia.

While this scam sometimes uses romance as a tactic, scammers can also build other types of personal or professional relationships over time in order to convince their targets to invest more money.

Investigators within the Cayman Islands Bureau of Financial Investigation encourage anyone who feels they may be engaging in online activities that appear similar to what is described, to visit our crime prevention page here, review our tips and take the necessary steps to prevent any further loss. You may also call (+1 345 649 4358) to make a report or speak with an investigator in person.

‘Smishing’ (SMS phishing) campaigns have also been on the rise. The RCIPS Cyber Crime Unit has noted an increase targeting the Cayman Islands. The latest involves someone impersonating Cayman National Bank. The scammers will send a one-time code (OTP) and ask you to call a 1-866 number. It should be noted that the telephone number changes frequently.

The RCIPS said this is a scam. Banks in the Cayman Islands will never ask for your password or other log on details via telephone or email. If you receive an SMS of this nature please ignore it.

For assistance with safety on line visit www.exploregov.ky/cybersafe>

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