• Today
    May 31

  • 04:44 PM

Scammers change tactics


Added 23 May 2020


ASP Curtis Julien demonstrating how fraudsters use skimming cards. (CMC)

PORT OF SPAIN – The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) Friday warned people to be wary of fraudsters who were becoming much more ingenious in their ways to skim them of their hard earned cash during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Curtis Julien, told a news conference that said scammers have now resorted to using point-of-sale machines in business places rather than automated teller machines (ATM) to get cash from unsuspecting customers.

Julien said the process requires the use of a skimming device which records information from a customer’s card and that data is used later to withdraw cash from the person’s account. Julien urged the public to be more observant when using bank cards and credit cards to purchase items.

“Most people swipe their cards on these machines and do not pay attention to what is going on with the machine. They are usually preoccupied with something else but it is important to keep your eyes on your cards.

”As long as there is any suspicion that the activity taking place is fraudulent, you must raise a red flag and stop that transaction. Call your financial institution and ensure your money is intact, we need to be very vigilant,” he said.

He acknowledged that while compromised point-of-sale machines are difficult to detect, there are anti-tampering devices installed in new machines to reduce the chances of skimming.

”These skimmers are used for reading your information, capturing it and they only give receipts that say ‘complication error’ or ‘transaction failed,” he said, while giving a demonstration as to how the schemes are carried out.

”Properly issued machines in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean when tampered with will also process your transaction capturing your pin and your financial data which goes directly to the card reader where they process the information using a laptop, cell phone or any device with a bluetooth mechanism.”

The police are also warning against persons who use the Internet to lure lonely people into parting with the funds.

Acting Inspector Cornelius Samuel said while there have been no reports of romance scams in Trinidad and Tobago, it is a common tactic used by criminals in other parts of the world and it won’t hurt if the public is aware of this type of online fraud and to be alert.

He said the criminals use Google’s image search feature to verify whether their online partner’s profile pictures are real or stock photos and that by the time most people are swindled of their funds they are often too embarrassed to come forward and make a report to police. (CMC)




Dos and Donts

Welcome to our discussion forum here on nationnews.com. We encourage lively debate, but we also urge you to take note of the following:

  • Stay on topic – This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
  • Be respectful – Meeting differences of opinion with civil discussion encourages multiple perspectives and a positive commenting environment.
  • Do not type in capitals – In addition to being considered “shouting” it is also difficult to read.
  • All comments will be moderated – Given the volume of comments each day, this may take some time. So please be patient.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments – Comments that we find to be abusive, spam, libellous, hateful, off-topic or harassing may be removed.
  • Reproduction of comments – Some of your comments may be reproduced on the website or in our daily newspapers. We will use the handle, not your email address.
  • Do not advertise – Please contact our Advertising Department.
  • Contact our Online Editor if you have questions or concerns.
  • Read our full Commenting Policy and Terms of Use.
comments powered by Disqus


Are you satisfied with the way the Government of Barbados has handled the COVID-19 public health crisis here?