“Over the past weeks, individuals who are part of organised crime groups, have been stealing the identities of high-ranking personalities in the principality and trying to establish personal contact with them, through email, text or video-conferencing via a WhatsApp-type application,” the government said in a statement Friday.
The elaborate scheme uses signed official documents on official letterhead, with phone calls that can display the switchboard number of these institutions.
The set up, which targets “community leaders or people with responsibility”, uses the pretext of an urgent financial matter and asks for money to be transferred to foreign bank accounts, particularly in Asia.
Monaco-Matin additionally reports that a known journalist was contacted by a fake Prince Albert through WhatsApp and asked for money to help free a local journalist, supposedly kidnapped by an Islamist group.
Police have launched an investigation.
The Department of Public Security is calling for the utmost vigilance:
• be very cautious and sceptical about this kind of unusual communication;
• carry out direct and certain verification;
• contact the Judicial Police Division in case of such requests: +377 93 15 30 15 or firstname.lastname@example.org.