Warning over ‘mystery shopper’ scam
Police yesterday warned that people who fall for a “mystery shopper” scam could face jail or huge fines.
A spokesman said fraudsters had been duping members of the public through a scheme to launder dirty money.
He added: “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 ...”
The scam promises people thousands of dollars as payment to work as secret shoppers, where they buy items and report back on their shopping experience.
Shoppers who agree get up to $5,000 deposited into their bank account, with a small portion to be kept as payment for their services.
They are asked to withdraw the remainder of the cash and send it overseas through an island money service.
But police say the funds lodged into Bermudian accounts typically came from crime such as phishing scams or other electronic fraud.
The spokesman said money laundering was the offence of knowingly concealing or assisting the acquisition of criminal property.
People convicted of more serious money laundering offences can be jailed for up to 20 years or given an unlimited fine, or both.
Banks, which are on the lookout for the suspicious activity, will freeze the assets of any account involved in the scam.
• To report suspected internet fraud, contact the Financial Crime Unit on 247-1757 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For advice on reporting scams, visit www.gov.bm/how-avoid-and-report-scams