In­ter­net fraud­sters wreak $100m dam­age so far this year

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Livern Bar­rett Se­nior Gleaner Writer livern.bar­rett@glean­erjm.com

SINCE THE start of the year, fraud­sters have used the In­ter­net to de­fraud Jamaican com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als of more than $100 mil­lion through a num­ber of elab­o­rate schemes.

The bulk of the loot, ac­cord­ing to In­spec­tor Jac­que­line Dodd, was stolen over the sec­ond half of the year when the po­lice say there was a rapid in­crease in mo­bile fraud cases.

Dodd, who heads the mo­bile fraud unit at the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force’s Counter Ter­ror­ism and Or­gan­ised Crime di­vi­sion (C-TOC), re­vealed yes­ter­day that the num­ber of In­ter­net fraud cases re­ported to the po­lice in the first six months of the year had an ac­cu­mu­lated value of J$25 mil­lion and US$30,000.

How­ever, she said since July 1, the value of the cases re­ported to the po­lice had dou­bled to more than J$52 mil­lion and US$457,000.

“Be­tween Oc­to­ber and De­cem­ber, we could see that fig­ure dou­bling,” said the se­nior in­ves­ti­ga­tor, who was ad­dress­ing the fourth North Amer­ica and Re­gional Con­fer­ence of the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Pros­e­cu­tors in Mon­tego Bay, St James.

She also re­vealed that some in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies are not com­ing for­ward to re­port in­ci­dents of mo­bile fraud and said some fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions – con­cerned about harm to their brands – have not been co­op­er­at­ing with in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

“It takes months some­times to get a state­ment from the same bank you are con­duct­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion for,” Dodd lamented.

She said some 20 per­sons have been ar­rested and charged with a range of of­fences re­lated to mo­bile fraud.

Ac­cord­ing to the se­nior in­ves­ti­ga­tor, ma­jor­ity of the per­sons ar­rested are gas sta­tion at­ten­dants. “These peo­ple (fraud­sters) ap­proach them be­cause they know they don’t make a lot of money,” she rea­soned.

She said that for a ‘fee’ of $30,000, some gas sta­tion at­ten­dants are al­low­ing fraud­sters to use their ac­counts to dis­trib­ute ill-got­ten gains.

In ad­di­tion, Dodd said fraud­sters are tar­get­ing busi­ness process out­sourc­ing, of­fer­ing em­ploy­ees money to turn over sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion.

“We have charged some peo­ple in the call cen­tres,” she re­vealed.

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