The Sunday Mail
Detective Assistant Inspector Tom Muleya Fraud Alert
Fraudsters are abusing the mobile network service providers’ concept of sending and receiving money via mobile phones. The facility was mainly aimed at bridging the gap between banks and people who have no access to banks, mostly those in remote areas.
This technology-based mobile banking system has brought about a lot of advantages and convenience. People are enjoying banking services anywhere, provided there is a mobile network and a registered agent.
Sadly, fraudsters are abusing this facility and using it as a means to dupe unsuspecting victims.
Police investigators have established that fraudsters are opening fraudulent mobile accounts which are only meant to receive money from victims.
Fraudsters in these scams mainly target job seekers.
The fraudsters advertise job vacancies and then demand upfront payment from the victims who are instructed to transfer money into fraudulent mobile accounts.
Once the fraudsters receive the money, they quickly discard the line.
In order to avoid falling prey to these scams, consider the following tips:
- Be wary of job advertisements which do not bear the name and physical address of the company but only have a mobile number. This may indicate that the fraudsters will be concealing their identity
- Fraudsters usually do not prefer face-to-face communication. If you respond to an advert and they do not suggest meeting at any point, be careful.
- Never transact with strangers through cellphone accounts. Mobile banking is more convenient for people who know each other, not strangers. Sending money to a stranger for business purposes is one sure way of adding yourself to a hit list.
- Never advance money as a prerequisite for employment. Genuine employers will not ask you to pay in order to secure employment. Once the purported employer solicits money from you, immediately stop communication, it is a scam.
- Learn from other people’s experiences. The local media is awash with stories of people who have been conned each day. Never ignore that information, use it to weigh your decisions in your business transactions bearing in mind that you may become a victim too.
- Avoid putting yourself under too much pressure. Fraudsters find it so simple to fleece people who are desperate for something: they know victims will not take time to think about the risks involved.
- The convenience brought by the mobile banking facility should not be a highway to linking you to fraudsters. Put your actions to test before committing yourself.
- Ask other reliable people about the offer. People are the greatest source of valuable information; honest people will always tell you about employment scams that are taking place.
Keep reading, for more information.
Remember, you should not be a fraud victim.
This article in published in line with the ZRP’s Theme for 2014: “ZRP for a Safe and Transforming Nation”.
Detective Assistant Inspector Tom Muleya is with the Public Relations Office in the CID Serious Fraud Squad, Harare. For comments and views contact: 04-753543