BPS: Shopper Scam & Money Laundering

December 3, 2019

The police are advising people who participate in the so called “Mystery Shopper Scam” that they may be engaging in money laundering activity, which is “illegal and could result in jail time and or hefty fines.”

A police spokesperson said, “The Bermuda Police Service wishes to advise that members of the public who participate in the so called Mystery Shopper Scam may be engaging in money laundering activity. An act that is illegal and could result in jail time and or hefty fines.

“Money laundering is defined under sections 43-45 of the Proceeds of Crime Act as the offence of knowingly concealing, or assisting the acquisition of criminal property. Criminal property is defined as property that is or represents a benefit from criminal conduct [in whole or part and whether directly or indirectly]

“A person found guilty of a money laundering offence under sections 43 to 45 of the Proceeds of Crime Act [concealing, assisting or acquisition] can be liable on conviction of the more serious offences to imprisonment up to 20 years or an unlimited fine, or both.

“The sanctions for failing to comply with section 46 or 47 of the Proceeds of Crime Act [failure to disclose knowledge or suspicion, or tipping off] are imprisonment for ten years or an unlimited fine, or both.

“If a local resident agrees to be a mystery shopper, they will usually receive a quantity of money into their personal bank account. A small amount of the total, they are told, can be kept as payment for their mystery shopper services.

“They are then asked to withdraw the remainder of the cash and instructed to send that money overseas via a local money service business.

“However, any funds deposited into local accounts through this scheme often originate from crime – mainly phishing scams or other electronic fraud – and local residents deceived by this scam are unwittingly being used to launder criminal proceeds.

“Local banks are already vigilant for this suspicious activity and are likely to freeze the assets of any resident’s account found to be involved in the mystery shopper scam.

“If you are unsure whether or not a potential opportunity is a scam – or wish to report any incidents of suspected internet fraud – please contact the Financial Crime Unit on telephone number 247-1757 or via the e-mail address fraud2@bps.bm.

“Advice on how to avoid and report scams can also be found here.”

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Comments (2)

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  1. Lesson#1 says:

    Hasn’t Zane just been on a mystery shopper cruise? It all ties in.

  2. Skinamarinkidoo says:

    How about fully educating first before all this happens so you dont just freeze innocent peoples accounts and assets when they are oblivious to what is implicated. It seems like always things happen, innocents get caught up, punished, then announcements warning the folks.