The Virgin Islands Police Department issued a warning Monday about a an Internet and telephone scams that has been reported in the territory.
According to the police, this is how the scam works:
The scammer, claiming to be an agent for a company, posts a job vacancy or an investment opportunity on the internet or other sources. The only way to contact the scammer is by an email or text message. When the victim responds, the scammer tells the victim that they have got the job, or provides documentation for the investment with no verbal communication. The scammer then sends the victim a check and tells them to deposit it into their account.
Once the check clears at the bank, the victim is required to send a portion of the money to the sender using a wiring company or a bank wire. But by the time the bank’s check clearing process is completed, the money is already moved out of the account. At this time, the bank and the depositor are both stuck with the counterfeit check, and the victim is usually held responsible for the funds drawn on it and sent to the scammer.
The police warned residents never to accept checks from unknown persons you meet online, and never to deposit suspicious checks into your account.
The VIPD alert also offered tips on identifying scammers. They often pretend to be someone you trust or in a position of trust, such as a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request, the police warned, whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.
Virgin Islanders can contact the VIPD Economic Crime Unit to report suspicious activity or if being a victim of a scam at 340-774-3942 for the St. Thomas District or 340-778-1001 for the St. Croix District.