The Police Service is advising custodians of cheque books to be vigilant when issuing cheques and securing them when not in use.
This follows eight persons being arrested and charged with a total of 42 fraud offences by officers of the Fraud Squad between the period January 1st 2019 and February 8th 2019, arising out of a new fraud scheme, involving the use of fraudulent cheques drawn on the accounts of various financial institutions and Government departments.
The charges ranged from Uttering Forged Valuable Securities, Obtaining Money by False Pretences and Money Laundering.
They arose from instances where fraudsters obtained copies of cheques drawn from Universities, Insurance Companies and Government Departments accounts and replicated them to create a new fraudulent cheque which reflects a new payee, sum, date and scanned copies of genuine signatures.
The fraudsters then incite genuine customers to deposit the cheques into their accounts for a small financial reward.
The funds are then withdrawn from the accounts via the ATM or other counter transactions, before the cheques are discovered to be fraudulent.
The TTPS is advising that it is best practice to conduct regular audits on cheque books, whether in use or not, to minimize, if not eliminate, this ‘Fraudulent Cheque’ scheme.
Furthermore, holders of genuine bank accounts are being told to be aware of being approached by persons inciting them to pass cheques through their accounts for a fee.