Stay Safe When You Buy On-Line at Christmas

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Financial Crimes Unit is advising the public to beware of certain financial scams, namely card skimming and online scams, that become more frequent due to the increase in financial activity, and especially online purchasing, during the holiday period.  It is important for the public to be on the alert when conducting some routine financial transactions.


Card Skimming

Card skimming is the practice of fraudulently gathering ATM card and PIN data through devices designed to look like a genuine ATM interfaces and affixed to the surface of ATM terminals.  Devices used in this fraudulent activity are now quite sophisticated and appear legitimate to the untrained eye. If there is something suspicious or unusual about the ATM you are using, do not use it and call your bank.  Similarly, if for any reason your card has trouble being inserted or read by the machine, don’t continue inserting it into the machine.  Notify your bank.

Online Scams

The public should be suspicious of any banking instructions received over email purporting to be from banking institutions.  The FCU has seen an increase in wire transfers and other banking activity as of late initiated on the basis of fraudulent instructions (“phishing” emails). Members of the public should always treat such communications carefully and should call the bank to verify the instructions received.


“Phishing” emails have evolved and become more sophisticated, and can now include emails from the personal email address of a friend or acquaintance, if their email has been compromised.  Therefore the public should avoid sending personal financial or other information by email in all instances.


Other tips to avoid email scams:

  • Do not click on links within emails that ask for personal or financial information. Hackers can retrieve information from your computer in various ways, including accessing stored information and monitoring keystrokes.
  • If you receive any emails from senders whom you don’t know, do not open them, but delete them.
  • You may receive an email message informing you that you have won the lottery. If you get a message informing you that you have won a contest you did not enter, the message is a scam.

Anyone aware of the activities described above as of late should notify the Financial Crimes Unit at 949-8797 or

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