The Bermuda Police Service is once again reminding residents to be wary of the mystery shopper scam, as a number of residents have recently reported falling victim to the ruse.
A police spokesperson said: “The scam entices local social media users by offering employment as a mystery shopper that allegedly has the potential to earn thousands of dollars by completing simple tasks – such as purchasing certain items, then reporting back on their shopping experience.
“If a local resident agrees to be a mystery shopper, they will usually receive a quantity of money into their personal bank account. A small amount of the total, they are told, can be kept as payment for their mystery shopper services.
“They are then asked to withdraw the remainder of the cash and instructed to send that money overseas via a local money service business.
“However, any funds deposited into local accounts through this scheme often originate from crime – mainly phishing scams or other electronic fraud – and local residents deceived by this scam are unwittingly being used to launder criminal proceeds,” he said.
“Local banks are already vigilant for this suspicious activity and are likely to freeze the assets of any resident’s account found to be involved in the mystery shopper scam.
“If you are unsure whether or not a potential opportunity is a scam – or wish to report any incidents of suspected internet fraud – please contact the Financial Crime Unit on telephone number 247-1757 or via the e-mail address email@example.com.
“Advice on how to avoid and report scams can also be found at https://www.gov.bm/how-avoid-and-report-scams.
“Money laundering is defined under sections 43-45 of the Proceeds of Crime Act as the offence of knowingly concealing, or assisting the acquisition of criminal property. Criminal property is defined as property that is or represents a benefit from criminal conduct (in whole or part and whether directly or indirectly),” he added.
“A person found guilty of a money laundering offence under sections 43 to 45 of the Proceeds of Crime Act [concealing, assisting or acquisition] can be liable on conviction of the more serious offences to imprisonment up to 20 years or an unlimited fine, or both.
“The sanctions for failing to comply with section 46 or 47 of the Proceeds of Crime Act [failure to disclose knowledge or suspicion, or tipping off] are imprisonment for ten years or an unlimited fine, or both.”