Categorized | National News

Business Owners Need To Be Vigilant of Fraud

Bahamians – in particular business owners – are being advised to look out for various types of fraud as the holiday season approaches.

The warning came on Friday by officers from the Business and Technology Unit, who explained that credit card fraud, counterfeit currency, advertisement scams, employee and identity theft are prevalent around this time of year.

Officer-in-Charge of the Cyber Crimes Unit Sergeant Dale Strachan also explained that email account hacking is something everyone needs to watch out for.

“We have noticed that we have had a number of complaints where people used email to obtain money,” he said.

“At times when you do business online, they have an email account where they give banks instructions on how to process their money and so because this is a trend so whenever they receive an email, they make whatever transaction is sent in the email. What happened is most people’s emails have been comprised so the hacker can get these funds by giving the bank instructions to wire funds to their accounts.”

Sgt. Strachan said it is best to have separate email accounts to protect people from getting into one main email.

He also advised people to create unique passwords.

“A lot of people use simple information for their emails – information based on family, information about your children and pets – and these are weak passwords,” Sgt. Strachan said.

“We also want people to avoid fishing scams and do not click on links and attachments in emails unless you can verify them.”

Inspector Debra Thompson added that counterfeit bills and credit card fraud are also very popular.

“Every year around this time we see an increase in counterfeit currency,” she said.

“If you come across any currency that is bleeding that’s a sign that it’s counterfeit. You want to look to see that it has security features like the corresponding thread. The $10 notes have an iridescent feature in the note so once you hold it under a light that feature would be noticeable. If you were to put the indelible marker on it, it will light up and if it turns black then it’s counterfeit.”

She said individuals are bleaching the $1 notes and printing higher denominations on those notes.

“You want to look to make sure the watermark on the note is similar to what’s on the face of the note,” Inspector Thompson said.

“When you suspect that a note is counterfeit you want to seize that note and call the police so we can apprehend the individual. With United States currency, you want to look to see that it has the fibers and the watermark is in the note as opposed to on the note. We have also seen an increase in credit card fraud. When there are transactions with credit cards, you want to make sure that the information on the credit card corresponds with that on the receipt.”

She explained that in most cases when a credit card receipt is printed, the last four digits of that credit card are printed out on the receipt.

“If the numbers don’t match, that tells you that the card is more than likely fraudulent,” she said.

“If you have any suspicion that the person may be up to no good, delay them by telling them you want to call the credit card company just to verify the number and you will find nine times out of ten they will tell you they will tell you they don’t want to go ahead with the transaction.”

Last year, there were 637 cases reported of fraudulent activity.

To date, that number stands at 464.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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