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Reserve Bank warns against bogus phone sales

The Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Reserve Bank of Fiji is warning the general public to be careful when responding to advertisements.  The Director of FIU, advertisementRazim Bush said that the FIU has established that the “buy 3 get one free” advertisement in the local print media on 27 May 2016 and 1 […]

Salote Qalubau

June 3, 2016 2:35 pm

The Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Reserve Bank of Fiji is warning the general public to be careful when responding to advertisements. 

buy-3-get-1-free-phone-scam

The Director of FIU, advertisementRazim Bush said that the FIU has established that the “buy 3 get one free” advertisement in the local print media on 27 May 2016 and 1 June 2016 is bogus.

The claimed to offer a “buy 3 get one free” deal on brand new Apple iPhones, Samsung Galaxy Series phones and digital video cameras with prices ranging from AUD$220 to AUD$2,000.

Mr Buksh said that this was a well-planned scam by international criminal gangs that used a fake email address purporting to be from two legitimate businesses in Australia and three sets of stolen personal credit card details to pay for the advertisement.

He added that the FIU was able to verify with the owners of the Australian businesses that they had nothing to do with the bogus phone sales scam.The criminals had also used stolen ID cards and were posing as “sales staff”  of a  legitimate telecommunications related company based in the  United Kingdom.

The criminals were located in Italy and the United Kingdom, however,  there could be other criminal syndicates located elsewhere.

Mr Buksh said the FIU was able to establish that the criminals would respond immediately by providing an order form which the prospective buyer will fill with details of their intended purchase.

Upon replying to the customers emails, the criminals would provide the total price for the order in Fijian dollars and the method of preferred payment which was through money transfer service and not through a commercial bank.

Mr Buksh reported that on 1 June 2016, the FIU had issued an Alert Notice to all commercial banks and international money transfer service to refrain from processing any payment to the beneficiaries of the scam.

Mr Buksh urged members of the public to remain vigilant and be wary of such bogus deals and take precautionary measures to verify such offers.

Members of the public are requested to take the following steps when responding to such offers through emails, social media or print media:

  1. Be sceptical about “too good to be true” deals;
  2. Verify that the advertisement is a legitimate mobile phone company, supplier or source;
  3. Do online searches to verify the details of the deal;
  4. Ask for basic information about the supplier such as the physical address or business location, phone number, invoice, TIN number, etc.;
  5. Consider how you will make the payment. Always insist on sending the money to a bank account. Also ensure that you send money in the name of the company and not the individual purporting to represent the company; and
  6. If you are unsure, talk to someone who can assist you to make the right decision.

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