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Could Jersey rent scams be stopped [or at least reduced] by the JFSC?

01/08/2022

The Jersey Police have reported that people have been conned out of a large amount of money when trying to rent a home from online listings. [see the full story below].

In reading this sad story, I wish to point out
  1. Any Jersey businesses that administer, manage money or take deposits from the public must be registered [as a supervised person] with the JFSC
  2. However, this registration is not public.
  3. Therefore there is no way to CHECK on who you are passing your hard-earned money to see if they are fit and proper [not crooks] with adequate systems and controls.
What are the rules?
  1. Under Jersey's PROCEEDS OF CRIME (JERSEY) LAW 1999*[THE LAW], any business [e.g. property agents] must register with the JFSC if:-
    • Who administer or manage funds [money] and/or accepts ANY FORM of deposit or other repayable funds from any third party
    • Accepts payment in cash of €15,000 [£12.5k] or more for one or more transactions from the same customer is caught by the law and must also register with the JFSC
  2. To be registered/licenced [as a JFSC AML supervised person], firms must
    • Prove they have adequate systems, control, policies and procedures.
    • Must have compliance officers [MLROs] and reporting officers [MLROs]
  3. And in being a supervised person, the JFSC can visit them
  4. And not being registered and approved the business is committing a criminal offence
The problem
  1. However, this registration is not public. Therefore there is no way to CHECK on who you are passing your hard-earned money to see if they are fit and proper with adequate systems and controls.
My question and solution
  1. The question is, should there be a public register of all supervised persons [I say yes]
  2. If all supervised people were all on a public "register", people could check the regulatory status of someone asking for their hard-earned money
  3. My idea will not stop overseas scammers, but if local people can deal with legitimate Jersey businesses, which they can check on, everyone is a winner [apart from the scammers]
Who can fix this
  1. Jersey government and the JFSC?
Supporting info below

*PROCEEDS OF CRIME (JERSEY) LAW 1999

SCHEDULE 2

(Article 36(1) and (2))

FINANCIAL SERVICES BUSINESS

SCHEDULE 2

PART B

OTHER BUSINESS

4 High-value dealers:

7        Other services

(1)     The business of providing any of the following services to third parties, where the business is not otherwise included in this Schedule –

(a)     Acceptance of deposits and other repayable funds from the public;

(n)    Otherwise investing, administering or managing funds or money on behalf of third parties.

https://www.jerseylaw.je/laws/current/Pages/08.780.aspx#_Toc106888568

Full story:-
  • The Jersey Police have reported that people have been conned out of money when trying to rent a home from online listings. The force have dealt with more than 20 cases in the last two years, with more than £22,500 known to have been lost.
  • Scammers have been stealing people's online identities to falsely advertise properties. David Turnbull, inspector of community policing, said:
  • "The scammer will contact them, say they've got a lot of people looking at this property, you're going to have to act very quickly and I think you need to leave a deposit so you don't miss out.
  • "Normally around a couple of hundred pounds and we've seen some in excess of a thousand pounds."
Source

End

JERSEY