U.S. Embassy warns of scam
Senior Business Reporter
Published: Jan 13, 2017
The United States Embassy in The Bahamas is warning U.S. citizens about a scam seemingly originating out of The Bahamas, that attempts to scam a visitor’s family members out of money by convincing them that funds are needed for a medical emergency.
A release from the U.S. Embassy in Nassau yesterday outlined that the number of these instances has increased recently. It is assumed by embassy officials that many of these scammers obtain information through the social media presence of the persons visiting The Bahamas and call that person’s family members under the guise of an embassy worker.
“There has been an increase in the number of fraudulent calls to U.S. citizens allegedly from the U.S. Embassy in Nassau requesting the immediate transfer of funds to assist in the urgent medical care of a family member in The Bahamas,” the embassy release said.
“In most scenarios, the caller obtains information, often through social media, which confirms a relative traveling in or currently residing in The Bahamas and uses that information to try to convince a willing victim to send money to allegedly assist the relative.”
The embassy release revealed another fraudulent scheme known as the “Grandparent Scam which targets grandparents or other relatives”.
“The caller contacts the relative to request personal credit card information over the phone in order to pay medical bills on behalf of an injured relative that would facilitate their release from the hospital and/or departure from The Bahamas,” the embassy’s release continued.
According to the official policy of the embassy, its personnel do not ask for “a family member’s personal credit card information over the phone or to be the designated recipient of a money transfer on behalf of a U.S. citizen”.
The release continued: “For true medical emergencies, the U.S. Embassy will only direct money transfer through an official account established through the Department of State’s Office of Citizen Services in Washington, D.C., or through a commercial money wire service in which the recipient’s name is only that of the injured relative.
“U.S. citizens who receive such a call should immediately reach out directly to the reported injured relative or their parents and other relatives to verify the information received, or verify the U.S. Embassy’s involvement in a specific case.”
The embassy recommended that family members try to reach their loved ones and verify the veracity of any caller’s story before transferring funds.