The T&T Police Service’s Cyber Crime Unit is investigating the case of a man scamming women in various ways as the COVID-19 virus spreads across the country.
The man has been stealing women’s identities and also pretends to be a millionaire’s agent and a police officer while trying to get women to perform personal sexual acts on camera. He allegedly offers the victims hundreds of thousands of dollars to do the sexual acts but when they are done they realise they have been fleeced. The scammer is also trying to get passwords to his victims’ electronic devices and social media accounts, Guardian Media understands.
The man may be taking advantage of the fact that some people are losing jobs as a result of the shutdown of several small businesses as COVID takes a toll on the country.
Some of his victims, who do not want to be identified, told Tobago Today their ordeal began on March 12, when they began receiving WhatsÅpp calls and texts from an unknown number.
The man first called using the photo of a friend in the women’s social media circle. He then disconnected the call, assumed the identity of the person in the photo, began a conversation via text and used familiar nicknames—known only to the persons in the circle.
“He tells you he spoke to your friend and she already performed a personal sexual act, live on camera, for a Trincity man and received the money in her bank account for the performance,” one of the victims told Guardian Media.
Another victim said the women in one group eventually realised what he was up to and posted the information on their Facebook pages. The women then reported the matter to their various district stations. All of the victims sent their citizens’ reports receipts to Guardian Media as proof they had reported the scam to the police.
The women said on March 23, the man changed his method of operations. He allegedly called one woman in a group using a private number and told her to spread the word that he was calling from the TTPS Cyber Crime Unit and wanted to set a specific programme on their electronic devices to catch the perpetrator. He said he needed their devices’ electronic special code to install the programme and their social media accounts.
“The message was so believable that we waited for the call at the appointed time to give the ‘sergeant’ our information,” one of the victims said.
She said one victim immediately enquired from the Cybercrime Unit if the man was an officer. However, before she could relay the information to her friend, she had already sent her personal information to the man, she said.
Guardian Media reached out to Assistant Commissioner of Police—North West Division William Nurse for a comment on the matter. He said the officers from the unit had indicated “they are actively pursuing the matter.”