White collar crime is up in Barbados for the first four months of this year when compared to the same period last year.
Data provided to Barbados TODAY by the Royal Barbados Police Force revealed that 68 cases of this type of crime were reported up to April this year, an increase of five over the corresponding period in 2017.
The biggest jump was reflected in the category where people obtained goods or services by a forged instrument. Figures showed that while there were no such cases reported between January and April last year, nine were recorded this year.
Police said comparative increases were also cited for criminal deception, possession of counterfeit notes, obtaining services by deception and putting forged money into circulation.
However, there was a drop in several other types of white collar crimes such as the theft of money, making off without payment, forgery and evading liability.
For all of last year the island’s largest supermarket chain, Massy Stores, was hit by 170 white collar crimes, with cheque fraud as the most serious.
“Massy Stores has lost thousands of dollars from payments received with counterfeit cheques. The majority of our issues have been around fraudulent business cheques,” a spokesman for the chain of stores revealed, adding that as a result the company would no longer accept business cheques, and would likely extend this to all cheques.
The spokesman also noted that customers guilty of this offence had been spending between $30 and $700.
“The step taken to no longer accept business cheques is a permanent measure,” a spokesman for Massy Stores told Barbados TODAY, adding that a number of people had already been prosecuted. No details were provided.
“We are reviewing our process in terms of accepting cheques in general,” the spokesman revealed.
The company has sought to make sure all store customers get the message by posting a bold-lettered notice at its check out counters advising that due to an increase in cheque fraud the stores would no longer be accepting any more business cheques.