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Economic Crime Unit Alerting The Community Of Phone Cloning In The Territory

March 29, 2019

PHONE CLONING

The Virgin Islands Police Department Economic Crime Unit is alerting the Community about the high increase of telephone numbers being cloned in the territory, which is currently harming our economy.

The Scheme

Presently, we have seen a large increase in phone cloning scams used to request funds, iTunes cards, and phone cards.

The scammers solicit persons by cloning their telephones using a scanner to retrieve the electronic serial number and phone identification number from the victim’s phone.

This allows the scammer to clone the victim’s phone and review contact history.

Once the cloning is completed, scammers can communicate over the telephone or through text messages as if using the victim’s phone.

When the scammers communicate over the telephone, it is a very brief call. They contact acquaintances to request funds, iTunes cards, or telephone cards, saying the owner is sick or in the hospital.

When the scammers communicate through text messages, they act like the original owner and request funds, iTunes cards or telephone cards.

This criminal activity is currently affecting our economy.

Tips/Prevention

We are asking the community to avoid answering any phone calls from numbers who are suspicious and to avoid providing personal information over the phone or through text message even if the telephone number appears to be an individual that they know.

Do not wire or send funds through Western Union or Money Gram to individuals because they are sick or to win any funds.

Check your phone bills to verify that no calls are being made from out of our district.

Keep your phone with you at all times, turn off Bluetooth and WiFi when not in use, clear browsing history and cookies regularly, use security applications to keep the phone protected, stay away from using unfamiliar WIFI access, and vet application before installing them.

We are also seeking help from the community to stay alert and advise anyone who feels like they have been a victim to contact the Virgin Islands Police Department Economic Crime Unit on St. Croix at (340) 778-1001 or St. Thomas at (340) 774-3942, Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or 911.

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