Facebook boyfriend scam: Grove man charged with defrauding woman of $502k


Jaffon Hinds, of Downer Street, Grove, East Bank Demerara was charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit a felony when he appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

The charges against Hinds were brought by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) before Magistrate Zamina Ally.

SOCU in a statement said Hinds pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted $30,000 bail on each count. The matter was adjourned until August 15, 2022.

Based on reports received by SOCU, Hinds, who is a Production Administrator at Caribbean Containers Incorporated, collected the sum of $502,340 from the victim on three separate occasions.

He is being accused of acting as a third party for the victim’s boyfriend whom the woman met on Facebook.

“The victim claimed she sent the money to Jaffon Hinds using Western Union money transfer after she was instructed to do by her Facebook boyfriend, who promised her a huge package with lots of expensive items,” SOCU noted in its statement.

To date the woman never received any package and her Facebook boyfriend has since ceased contact with her.

It was only in April this year that SOCU’s Head Assistant Commissioner Fizal Karimbaksh warned of a sharp increase in cases where suspected Nigerian nationals who are in the country illegally as well as some out of Guyana, are working with local accomplices to carry out scams and pyramid schemes on unsuspecting persons.

Karimbaksh indicated that “Package Delivery” and “Romance” scams became more prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic as scammers targeted primarily women via several social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as online dating sites.

He explained that the modus operandi used by the scammers is to befriend unsuspecting women on social media using fake profiles, after communicating with the victim for some time to build trust with them, the scammer promises packages containing valuable gift items, such as designer clothing, jewellery, televisions, cell phones, other electronic devices and money.

The victim is usually contacted by a local associate of the scammer, confirming the arrival of the package and requesting their personal contact and other information. The intended victim is subsequently contacted again and requested to deposit money to a specified local Bank Account or send via a Money Transfer Agency or the Guyana Post Office Corporation.

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