Police: Advice On How To Avoid Scammers

April 15, 2020

The Bermuda Police Service recently had a Q&A with Detective Superintendent Nicholas Pedro on the issue of potential scams, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Q: Why is this pandemic an opportunity for scammers and criminals?

A: Unfortunately, criminals are very opportunistic. They see a vulnerable population out there that they can prey upon. People may be scared and looking for help. People are trying to protect themselves and their families. People are unemployed or laid off. There may be an added level of desperation right now that may cause someone to make an emotional decision that could make them a victim.

Det Superintendent Nicholas Pedro Bermuda April 2020

Q: What are some of the most common fraud schemes we might see?

A: Whilst we are in the second week of the Shelter in Place orders, by and large the levels of crime has remained fairly low on the Island. Members of the public should be aware of impersonators. Criminals may try and reach out to people through social media, emails, or phone calls pretending to be from the government agencies or other entities. Always request identification if someone comes to your door. I wish to be clear that we are not currently seeing impersonators active within the community, but this is always a risk during or after critical incident impacting the Island.

Q: What potential scams should people be aware of regarding financial benefits?

A: Financial institutions & the government will not ask you for personal information to give you your benefits. If you receive an email, text message, or phone call claiming to help you get your benefits, do not respond. Only use official Bermuda Government website to register for benefits or your financial institutions official website or app to conduct transactions.

Q: What is the BPS doing about scammers?

A: We’re aware of many cases overseas, but have not quite yet seen elevated levels of fraud in Bermuda yet. We constantly monitor social & traditional media for suspected scams, and work with our government partners to identify fraudulent schemes. If you think something is suspicious, please call the main Police number on 295-0011, or 444-2498 – which is the COVID-19 helpline.

Q: What can people do to protect themselves from scammers?

A: Use extreme caution in online communication. For emails, verify who the sender is-criminals will sometimes change just one letter in an email address to make it look like one you know. Be very wary of attachments or links; hover your mouse over a link before clicking to see where it’s sending you. In general, be suspicious of anyone offering you something that’s “too good to be true” or is an investment opportunity.

Seek out legitimate sources of information.

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As the island and world deals with the Covid-19 pandemic, we are doing our best to provide timely and accurate information, and you can find more information on the links below.

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