June 29, 2004 – An e-mail scam claiming some connection with the Virgin Islands appears to be making its way throughout the Internet. Whoever is behind the "St. Croix Lottery Group LLC" wants you to send them $500 to get $40,000 out of a trust fund. They give their address as St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Source was alerted to the scam by a U.S. Navy sailor.
"Anybody that falls for that …" Licensing and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Andrew Rutnik commented on Tuesday, leaving his sentence unfinished.
Rutnik said no company with that name has a business license in the territory. An employee of the Trademarks and Corporations Division of the Office of Lieutenant Governor said there's no such company registered there, either.
While there have been no local reports of this particular scam, numerous others have made their way to the territory. Rutnik said a recent one involved a Texas-based company purporting to be selling cheap mortgages. "They got a lot of money," he said.
Rutnik suggested that residents check with his office to see if a company soliciting business holds a business license. If it doesn't, he said, the Licensing and Consumer Affairs staff needs to be alerted so the department can launch an investigation.
Consumers should never write checks or give out their charge card numbers without first verifying that the company requesting the information is legitimate, he said.
Common scams on the Internet involve seemingly legitimate companies asking consumers to provide their charge card numbers so the companies ostensibly can "check" them, Rutnik noted. "I get them all the time," he said.
This is called "phishing" in Internet lingo. It gives criminals easy access to the charge card accounts of anyone supplying their numbers.
To learn more or to provide information about online scams, call Licensing and Consumer Affairs at 774-3130 on St. Thomas or 773-2226 on St. Croix.
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