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Zimbabweans losing money to internet scammers

A report carried in the Chronicle, a Zimbabwean daily newspaper, says that many Zimbabweans have fallen victim to internet fraudsters. Without revealing any figures, a Criminal Investigation Department spokesperson Detective Inspector Augustine Zimbili indicated that cases of Zimbabweans falling prey to fraudsters were on the increase.

According to the article, Zimbabweans buying mining equipment and those buying cars online have been the worst hit. The victims are apparently paying money to companies that don’t exist at all.

We knew buying Japanese and UK pre-owned cars is a common online activity by Zimbabweans so not surprised there. It’s clearly big business if you see the number of Japanese car sales adverts targeting Zimbabweans online. What we didn’t quite expect is that people are buying mining equipment online as well.

The detective’s advice is to “physically tour some of these companies before dealing with them or asking someone trustworthy to do it for you if in other countries”. We agree. Anyone anywhere can setup an internet storefront and pretend to be selling stuff. That is the nature of the internet. Some scammers will even do some social engineering, friending you on Facebook, following you on Twitter and ‘getting to know you better’ before they send you offers to your mailbox in the hope that you bite.

There is clearly more internet activity now than say, a year ago and with the continued rise in internet penetration, such fraud is surely going to increase. Internet users just need to be more careful and not assume that just because something is on the internet it must be official.

What would have been more interesting though would be to find a rough estimate of just how many people have been defrauded or, better still, how much value has been lost to these fraudsters over, say, the past year. Also interesting would be information on how many have fallen for the 419 advance-fee scams.

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14 thoughts on “Zimbabweans losing money to internet scammers

  1. This is a were a regional entity like SADC can attempt to play some role in the digital economy by alerting the public who in cyberspace is genuine or fake, rather than pursue endless and meaningless political talk-shops that benefit absolutely no one. Even the AU can jump into some role here as well either spurring this economic front or alerting citizens of the continent on the pitfalls of the digital economy. But boy are they are so fast asleep and snoring like a gorilla on a siesta in the jungles of the Congo, they don’t know head from tail. But then again a enterprising individual can set-up a web face that profiles who’s who on the African cyber-landscape…

  2. For buying an ExJap car tradecarview[dot]com  is the safest. they have buyer protection. But be careful not to fall for tradecarvievv[dot]com, a fake site imitating the original one. 

    1. any other reliable sites to buy ex jap vehicles you know of?am pretty skeptical about buying online which is why i nid to arm myself with all the info out there there is. a list of all those you knw will be very much appreciated

      1. tradecarview is the best. I have used it before. Infact I received my car documents just yesterday via DHL and I tracked the ship with my car to somewhere near Singapore heading to Africa. They have a serious buyer protection, such that the dealer is only paid only when they ship your car. And all communication is done via the site. no separate emails or boring phone calls.

  3. Guys with regards to UK car sales; I head up operations for in the UK , we have hundreds of background checked inspectors in the UK and over 7000 in the US, who will go and inspect and verify the business and vehicle you wish to purchase online. We can verify if the company exists and also take current pics/video to ensure the vehicle is in the condition it was advertised in. We then send you a full report of the vehicle and in the report we answer any questions you have. Thus allowing you to have full confidence before you purchase. Our motto is simple: “Verify before you Buy” p.s. I’m from Zim currently living in the UK. 🙂

        1. hey @wegolook, how about we know your name so we can trust you? (pot calling cattle black :)) Well i use Developer cse twitter/gmail/facebook is blocked on my work LAN!!

          1. My name is Lawrence Suss born in Bulawayo Mzilikazi 🙂 Grew up in South Africa, then moved to London UK. In South Africa I run and in the UK I run and now also head up wegolook UK. Serial Entrepreneur and tech fanatic 🙂 

  4. Web scams or any other kinds, I think everybody should check Scam Detector, an app that Apple released recently. They have hundreds and hundreds of scams exposed, in several industries. For those interested, the app has an online presence as well:

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