Philipsburg:--- Residents of St. Maarten/St. Martin are asked to be aware of some con artists (scammers) that are focusing on people living on the island. According to information reaching SMN News, someone has been contacting people by telephone on the island telling them that they won a huge amount of money as a prize. The caller told at least one person that the money can only be accessed if they transfer monies to them through the money transfer agencies on the island. The caller went on to tell the person whom he called a number of times that the only way to access the funds and to complete the transfer to his or her bank account is to send the required sum through Money Gram. The caller is also asking for personal information such as bank account numbers and other personal information. Further checks on the caller's telephone number showed the caller is calling from Nigeria.
Nigerian criminals are known for their fraudulent attempts to lure people into transferring money to their bank accounts based on false stories. Sometimes these stories are well prepared and people tend to believe them. All over the world tens of thousands of people have become victim of these embezzlers. It appears as though the scammers are focusing heavily on the St. Maarten community.
The country code for Nigeria starts with -2348-. Besides the phone contact, residents, and business people are being contacted through the internet. Residents are advised not to transfer any money to unknown accounts, not to provide unknown persons with bank account numbers or any private personal information whatsoever.
It is likely that large criminal organizations with an East African origin are behind these fraudulent attempts to steal money from people.