The U.S. Embassy alerts the public that there has been an increase in the number of fraudulent calls to U.S. citizens allegedly from the U.S. Embassy in Nassau requesting the immediate transfer of funds to assist in the urgent medical care of a family member in The Bahamas. In most scenarios, the caller obtains information, often through social media, which confirms a relative traveling in or currently residing in The Bahamas and uses that information to try to convince a willing victim to send money to allegedly assist the relative. Another common fraud practice is the “Grandparent Scam” which targets grandparents or other relatives. The caller contacts the relative to request personal credit card information over the phone in order to pay medical bills on behalf of an injured relative that would facilitate their release from the hospital and/or departure from The Bahamas.
U.S. Embassy personnel will never ask for a family member’s personal credit card information over the phone or to be the designated recipient of a money transfer on behalf of a U.S. citizen. For true medical emergencies, the U.S. Embassy will only direct money transfer through an official account established through the Department of State’s Office of Citizen Services in Washington, DC, or through commercial money wire service in which the recipient name is only that of the injured relative.
U.S. citizens who receive such a call should immediately reach out directly to the reported injured relative or their parents and other relatives to verify the information received, or verify the U.S. Embassy’s involvement in a specific case. The U.S. Embassy recommends against transferring funds until either form of verification is obtained. The following U.S. Department of State websites have additional useful information on this topic:
For further information:
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Bahamas Specific Information and Turks and Caicos Islands Specific Information.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Contact the U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas, located at 42 Queen Street (across from the British Colonial Hilton Hotel), Nassau; telephone: 242-322-1181; after hours emergency telephone: 242-357-7004; ACS unit fax: 242-356-7174; e-mail: ACSNASSAU@state.gov ; web page: https://bs.usembassy.gov. The Turks & Caicos Consular Agency is located at 2 Ventura Ct., Grace Bay Suite 102E, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. The Consular Agent is LeShelle Tull-Thomas (649-232-5713, TullThomasLS@state.gov).
- Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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