Zimbabwe tops the log and it is the country with the highest literacy rate in Africa after recently overtaking Tunisia.
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) latest report, Zimbabwe has a literacy rate of 92 percent and sits at number 95 in the world literacy rankings.
Soon after independence, the country heavily invested in education. The Government introduced free basic education which resulted in vast improvements in the education system.
Education is now part of our culture and is in our veins.
This is perhaps the reason why there is an insatiable desire for learning amongst many Zimbabweans with some furthering their academic education beyond our borders and overseas.
Con artists are aware of the hunger for academic excellence amongst Zimbabweans and are therefore masquerading as scholarship agents.
These fraudsters are defrauding unsuspecting victims who intend to do study overseas through payment of advance fees purported to be for administration processes.
Similar scams are rampant in overseas employment and placements schemes where victims are promised highly paying jobs. In this scam, victims are informed that they have secured a scholarship overseas without even making applications.
The messages on scholarship awards are sent to victims’ e-mail addresses. What I find interesting in these scams is that the fraudsters or fraudulent agents have no physical location and yet our people would trust and deal with them.
I wonder where reasoning has gone. I also note that the advent of technological advancement has rendered many people vulnerable to cyber criminals.
The levels of ignorance with regards to safety amongst many users of the internet services are shockingly high.
Cyber crime is a new phenomenon in our country.
Traditional methods of committing fraud and theft have been reinvented and are now increasingly being committed on the internet.
Now that almost everyone is connected to the internet and can transact from anywhere, I am afraid the victims will be many.
I am, however, confident that this information has come to you at the right time and will go a long way in protecting you from being a victim.
Now let’s look at the following scenario:
Fraudster X places an advert on the internet offering an overseas scholarship programme.
Victim Y and hundred others respond to the offer which will see them do studies in various parts of the world.
The victims are then sent application forms via e-mail to complete and then send them back to X through e-mail.
On filling the application form, the applicant makes a personal declaration and commitment on information relating to criminal background, health, disability, non-denial of visa on political grounds and a promise of non-involvement in illegal activities in the host country.
Upon confirmation of receipt of completed application forms, X requests the victims to pay processing fees that range from US$300 to US$500 which is subject to refund on admission to the university.
The victims are advised to deposit the said money into X’s mobile account.
Once the money is deposited, X starts to demand more money from victims and finally is no longer contactable.
I will continue with overseas scholarship scams in my next article. Remember, you should not be a fraud victim!
This article is published in line with the Zimbabwe Republic Police theme of the year 2012 — “ZRP for Total Peace, Stability and Progress” in conjunction with CID Serious Fraud Squad Vision, “To be a Beacon of Excellence in the Fight Against Economic Crime in Zimbabwe”.
- For your comments and assistance with information that can be helpful to C.I.D. Serious Fraud Squad, you can contact me on 04-753543/0772 764 043 and on Email:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Detective Assistant Inspector Tom Muleya works under the Public Relations Department, CID Serious Fraud Squad, Harare.
1. CID Serious Fraud Squad is looking for Carlos Rubwe Nr: 29-212814-H-22; Age: 30; Last known address: 61 Caldar Gardens, cnr L. Tongogara/Sam Nujoma St, Harare. The above is wanted in connection with a case of fraud involving US$217 257. Anyone with information on his whereabouts to contact the Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Chawatama, on 0777 177 249/ 04-753543 or any nearest police station.
2. CID Serious Fraud Squad is looking for Misheck Rupeyo Chirangare, alias Africa, Nr: 63-754607-K-63; DOB: 14/05/60. He is believed to be staying in Hopely Farm or Stoneridge Farm, Harare.
The above is wanted in connection with a case of Fraud involving US$40 000. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the above-mentioned wanted person to contact Detective Assistant Inspector Muleya on 0772 764 043/04-753543 or any nearest police station.