Seychelles police warn local public against falling for online scams
(Seychelles News Agency) - The fraud unit at the Seychelles police has issued a public warning to all Seychellois to be on guard against fraudsters looking to rob them of their life savings. As the saying goes, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
In a press statement issued today, the police called on all Seychellois to be “smart, very careful and avoid communicating or give any information or personal data to people they do not know”, especially for offers such as overseas job recruitments, lottery jackpots or the transfer and sharing of inherited fortunes.
A variety of scams
We have all received a message from a stranger that sounded too good to be true; whether it was via Facebook, text or email, fraudsters always seem to find a way to get in touch with a wide range of potential victims.
Sometimes a distant relative you have never heard of has passed away, leaving you the sole beneficiary of the millions he had left behind.
Sometimes you might be contacted by someone claiming to be from a well-known company, saying you are the lucky winner of a competition or lottery you have never entered.
Some even try to sell fake products online, taking the money but never delivering the goods. Others might comment on a Facebook group thread, claiming to offer fast loans at low interest.
All these are scams well-known to police forces around the world, and have one common goal: to rob you of your heard-earned cash. But the authorities are essentially unable to act as the large majority of them are conducted from outside the target country’s borders and legal jurisdiction.
Despite many of the pitches being badly-written and implausible, some desperate and good-hearted people become victims, many of them being the elderly who end up losing their life’s savings to the fraudsters.
And now it seems that Seychelles, being sheltered by its relatively small population and physical remoteness for many years, has been flooded with messages from con artists from across the high seas.
The Seychelles Police’s Public Relations Manager, Jean Toussaint told SNA that there are even institutions which advertise higher learning degrees and diplomas, only to take the registration and tuition fees and disappear into the vastness of cyberspace.
“In one particular case some people have come forward reporting that a certain person had borrowed money from them,” said Toussaint.
“That man… has in his possession what looks like an authentic foreign bank certificate with millions of dollars in his name. With this document as proof that he is a millionaire-to-be, people have agreed to lend him large sums of money, some have even indebted themselves or engaged their assets with the hope that they will be refunded with interest as part of the deal.”
Keeping your personal information private
Toussaint also warned about the growing problem of online identity theft, where fraudsters assuming someone else’s identity, usually so they can gain access to the victim’s bank account or obtain credit and other benefits in that person's name.
He warned that allowing yourself to fall victim to such a scam could not only lead you down the path of financial bankruptcy, but it could also allow other criminal activities to take place under your name.
“The stealing of one's identity can be done gradually: starting with a contact number, identity number, passport number, and eventually your account number, then you're finished,” Toussaint told SNA.