More women than men falling prey to romance scams, says TTPS | #ukscams | #datingscams | #european

‘Romance scams’ may be on the rise, with female victims outnumbering men, according to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS).

Inspector Tricia Smith of the Fraud Squad said in 2021 there were 33 reports of romance fraud, amounting to $975,000, however, for 2022 to date, the TTPS has already recorded almost half that figure with 16 reports at a value of over $1.3 million.

Smith was speaking at a TTPS media briefing at police headquarters in Port of Spain earlier today.

“Another type of fraud we’ve seen is romance fraud. Persons meet up on social media and they exchange contact information. Eventually one party, in most instances the victim, they get emotionally involved or attached to the perpetrator and they offer to send a package containing valuables inclusive of money, cellular phones and other goodies…but the victim is required to pay for the alleged clearance of this package, and as a result they send money.

“There are younger persons and older persons, both male and female, but unfortunately, mostly female victims are falling [victim] to this type of offence.”

Smith said the sums of money requested vary, from as little as $3,000 to as much as $200,000.

Smith said it’s also against the law to receive large sums of money without declaring it to the Customs and Excise Division.

“These packages that are said to contain these large sums of money, there’s a procedure, it’s actually against the law to import money into the country and not declare it, so you could also be committing an offence.”

She said people should be careful when contacted by people online, and only send money to a verified business, not a private account.

Smith noted another fraudulent practice which involves the use of fraudulent cheques, with 15 reports for 2022 amounting to over $750,000.

She warned that recipients of these cheques should verify them with the bank prior to parting with their goods.

She said people should also get the vehicle number of the driver collecting the item, saying couriers have been used to collect the item then asked by scammers to deliver it to a random location, where it’s picked up by another courier, making it more difficult to trace.

The TTPS said it’s addressed several reports of fraud, including:

  • a government employee charged with six counts of larceny of tax revenue in the sum of $1.6 million, misbehaviour in public office and 13 counts of money laundering
  • Another government employee was charged with forgery after a report was filed by a former minister.
  • three new vehicles and three local used vehicles were bought using fraudulent manager’s cheques – two people were charged
  • a forklift was on its way to be shipped to St Vincent and was recovered by police – the vehicle had been purchased using a fraudulent manager’s cheque
  • a foreign national arrested for fraud in the sum of $9 million
  • individuals trying to obtain over $1 million from a bank by way of a fraudulent cheque drawn on account of a government department
  • foreigners charged for card skimming
  • a person held for allegedly taking money from victims for airline travel that never materialised.

Overall, the TTPS said in 2020 there were 2,426 reports of fraud, in 2021 there were 1,093, and in 2022 to date there have been 335 reports, some of which were:

  • Fraudulent cheques – 15 reports, amounting to over $750,000
  • Land fraud – 20 reports involving fraudulent deeds, amounting to over $2.1M, and an attempted land fraud valued at $3.3M
  • Fraud involving the purchase of vehicles, both new and foreign used – 22 reports, amounting to over $1.8M
  • Cheques stolen from the Ministry of Social Development and cashed at local merchants – 50 reports amounting to $311,000
  • Investment fraud – five reports, amounting to over $26 million

ASP Arnold Lutchman warned potential land buyers to ensure that lawyers engaged in land business transactions are registered attorneys and that the deed is authentic.

To report incidents of suspected fraud, contact the Fraud Squad on 625-2310, 623-2644, and 652-8594 or email, or send a disclosure to the Financial Intelligence Unit at

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