GEORGETOWN – The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Guyana said it has become aware of nationals who are actively involved with international partners in the commission of what is referred to as “Package Delivery Scams or Romance Scams”.
The FIU said the “Package Delivery or Romance” scammers have emerged more prominently during the period of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
It said this scam specifically targets people through several social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
The FIU said the methodology used by the scammers is to befriend unsuspecting people through these digital platforms.
“After some time used to build trust with their ‘new friend’ or ‘love interest’, the scammer promises the intended victim some form of assistance,” the FIU said in a media statement.
“This, in most instances, is supposedly a ‘package’ containing valuable gift items such as designer clothing, jewellery, televisions, cell phones and other electronic devices.”
The statement said: “The victim is usually contacted by a local associate of the scammer, confirming the arrival of the package and requesting their personal contact and other information.
“The intended victim is also subsequently contacted and requested to deposit money to a specified local bank account or sent via a money transfer agency (MTA).”
The FIU said victims are advised payment is required to cover brokerage fees, customs duties, penalties or shipping charges for the packages, which was found on inspection to contain highly valuable items.
“Once this payment is made, the scammers discontinue all contact with the victim,” the FIU said. “In some instances, however, requests are made for additional payments, for various reasons, which may sound plausible to unsuspecting individuals.”
The FIU said it is urging members of the population who have been approached by these scammers that they should not share any personal information, transfer or deposit money into the bank account of anyone they meet online and do not know very well.
“If you believe you are a victim of the ‘Romance or Package Delivery Scam’, report it immediately to the nearest police station,” the FIU said.