NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) yesterday warned that romance scams designed to pull at the heartstrings of unsuspecting victims, particularly retired and mature women, have given authorities some cause for concern.
“Fraudsters are contacting persons, usually retired/mature or vulnerable females, under the guise of friendship and companionship,” police said.
“The fraudsters fabricate a relationship by building trust over time through constant communication, romantic intention and encouragement, usually portraying themselves to be wealthy businessmen or vulnerable widowers.
“Romance scam/fraud is a social engineering tactic which entails the engineering of a friendship or relationship for fraudulent or financial gain.
“Once a level of trust and comfort is achieved, the fraudsters promise to marry the victims and/or enter into business opportunities with them.”
Police said with trust earned from their target, scammers begin to request personal information such as government identification or bank account information, with the promise of instant wealth, gifts, marriage or lucrative business opportunities.
“The public is reminded of the dangers in sending your government identification and personal information, inclusive of banking information, online or through social media platforms to individuals that you’ve never met,” police said.
“Doing so exposes you to potentially becoming victims of fraud, theft, stolen identity and sometimes, in extreme cases, physical harm.”
Additionally, police warned that victims of romance scams can also run the risk of being culpable in facilitating money laundering offenses.
“The Royal Bahamas Police Force advises members of the public to be vigilant and cautious with persons that they communicate with online and on social media,” the organization said.