2018 has been the year of card cloning. With Zimbabwe’s rapid acceleration to ‘cash-less economy’ status the amount of cyber-crime that has come with this cashless-ness has been a clear indicator of the fact that the government did not deliberately plan for a digital economy but instead stumbled upon one.
“Our hands are tied”
ZRP seems to be echoing these sentiments as the Superintendent of the ZRPs General Crime Division (Cyber Crime) –Amos Tavaziva- admitted that the police force’s hands are tied when it comes to cyber-crime:
Use of plastic money to ease liquidity challenges has also come with its fair share of challenges as cyber-crimes have also increased in the country.
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We need modern equipment and expertise to help us in gathering evidence.
We have to rely on service providers via court orders. This is a new crime trend for the police, the judiciary and the prosecution.
There is a need for training. Yes, we have convictions buts not as much as you would want to hear.
It’s pretty clear that until all the above is implemented a lot of citizens will be at the mercy of card cloners who were quite active this year. As of October, there had been over 154 cases of card cloning in Zimbabwe with some high-profile cases that included the nephew of former ZIFA President Phillip Chiyangwa.
You’re on your own
There has been so little done on the law’s side that some banks resorted to actually stop offering balance enquiries on Zimswitch POS machines. Sadly, the 2019 budget did not seem to directly address any of this so it might be a long 2019 when it comes to Cyber-crime, unless if the thiefs decide to change their ways.
There is only one area within the police force that might be shored up using technology; traffic monitoring. There has been a flurry of announcements by companies and the City Council concerning the deployment of CCTV cameras that will be deployed in Harare in order to deal with traffic. The traffic situation has been chaotic for way too long so that is a welcome development.
Since we know for a fact that there’s no such solution to deal with cyber-crime let’s just hope card-cloning isn’t as rampant or worse than it has been in 2018. Hopefully, the card-cloners themselves have mercy on citizens who can’t be protected by law.