Beware of fraudsters this festive season

HARARE - “It is no longer viable to say I have a degree because the information communication technology (ICT) revolution has surpassed everything.”

These were the wise words of the energetic professor Arthur Mutambara calling for the revamping of the universities curriculum to meet the demand of the economy.

It is true that the world has been reduced into a small village, thanks to the advances in ICT. A lot of effort and resources have been channelled towards the growth of ICT’s in the country with President Robert Mugabe pioneering the schools computerisation programme.

The picture looks good but on the other side of the coin there is the imminent danger where Internet hackers are out to defraud unsuspecting users.

Although they say desperate times call for desperate measures surely for most Zimbabweans desperate as they are they can be made to be more desperate as they will lose out if they are not careful about the use of the Internet.

Internet hackers are targeting Zimbabwe as we are now using the American dollar. Internet hackers target email accounts of our friends in the Diaspora and then sent mail to all their friends purporting that they have been robbed and are stranded. Here is one of the emails that I received from a hacked email of my friend living in Tanzania. I hope this will find you OK. I left for an urgent London. and I'm having some difficulties.

Unfortunately for me I got robbed on my way to the hotel where I lodged along with my cellphone and my luggage and since then I have been without money.

At the moment my passport has been seized by the hotel management pending the time payment is made. So I have limited access to emails for now.

I urgently need your financial assistance.

The total amount of money that I need is $1 840 or any amount you can lend me to sort-out the bills, so I can make arrangements and return back.

I'm in a panic now, I will refund you as soon as I get back, I am so confused right now.

Thou I wasn't hurt because I complied immediately, waiting for your reply please let me know if you can be of any help.
 
From cybercrime comes the familiar conmen at rural-bound bus termini especially at Mbare Musika as people jostle to go to their rural homes.

This is the prime time for those who find it easy to reap from other people’s pockets to make brisk business.

The advent of the multicurrency regime saw the resurrection of the once forgotten practice of pick-pocketing and an uprising of con artists. Tricksters are more likely to be enterprising than ever before after the fall of Mandimbandimba who employed most of them as rank marshals.

As you travel to your various destinations make sure your possessions are very secure otherwise you will have an unpleasant festive season.   

While not condoning the extremely high levels of deceptive behaviour by many Zimbabweans it seems that there is a strong relationship between the level of poverty or deprivation and the tendency to use illicit means to make ends meets.   

I have also noticed that a lot of real estate agencies and land developers want to cash in on people’s bonuses by offering what might appear to be Christmas promotions which promise heaven on earth.

Some of the offers include a ridiculous price of residential stands of 2 000 square metres being offered at a price of $ 5 000!!

If this is true then the dreams of all tenants will be realised. Do not fall into the trap of overspending and spending your precious resources in such suspicious deals.

Christmas is not the end of the world, it will come and pass. Enjoy your festive season, take care, don’t drink and drive. Have a “merry” Christmas. - David Mutomba

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