The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) is warning the public about robberies related to online business transactions, something officers are calling “a new phenomenon.”
At yesterday’s TTPS media briefing, acting Senior Supt Joseph Chandool said, “These are instances where people try to transact sales online and meet at a location, and are then robbed of their cash or commodity for sale.”
Chandool said the TTPS is encouraging people to meet at a safe venue to conduct such activity.
“The executive urges people to use the police station as their meeting place. If someone asks to do so and the other party refuses, that ought to be a red flag and that alone lets you know that everything is not above board.”
Chandool said this is a serious cause for concern for the TTPS, as people are losing their hard-earned commodities and cash. Saying they believe one report is one too many, he said they have had some successes in bringing people to justice for these crimes.
“The Cyber Crime Unit is active and engaging the situation, it is a robust operation, I cannot give the numbers at present but we have had some successes.”
In July this year, the TTPS announced that it had made a major dent in an online robbery ring.
Twenty-four-year-old Jeffrey Joseph, of East Dry River, Port-of-Spain, was arrested in connection with this matter. Police believed he was the main suspect in a series of reports of online scams and robberies.
The TTPS said then that Joseph was the sixth suspect to be arrested and charged in the Port-of-Spain Division in connection with these types of online robberies. Five others were charged in April 2021.
The police said potential buyers responded to what was later learned to be fictitious online advertisements and they were directed to unfamiliar locations. Once there, police were told, they were robbed of their property and cash. The police are therefore urging extreme vigilance during this Christmas season.