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Be alert of online scams – BAZ

BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes

@SunZambian 

THE Bankers Association of Zambia (BAZ) has warned against scammers creating fake online profiles using photos of other people with intent to swindle victims through bank accounts.

The association has therefore encouraged victims to report cases to the regulators or law enforcement agencies as such circumstances have become common. 

Recently, BAZ came across a case where unknown online card transactions were hitting a victim’s bank account, monthly subscriptions, account numbers in foreign hands, lost connectivity to Mobile Networks and all accounts taken over and all hard-earned money gone.  A number of individuals have fallen victim to this kind of scam and have failed to explain the how, all because of the things the internet have made possible to make crime become so sophisticated according to the BAZ Fraud Prevention Committee Member, Saviour Musonda. 

Mr Musonda explained that scammers set up dating profiles to meet potential victims after they formed a “relationship,” where they then come up with reasons to ask their love interest to open a new bank account. 

“The scammers transfer stolen money into the new account, and then tell their victims to transfer the money to them. Victims think they are just helping out their soulmate, never realising they are aiding and abetting a crime.  

“Do not send money to someone you met online, for any reason. If your online sweetheart asks for money, you can expect it is a scam. Unfortunately, online dating scams are all too common. There may be thousands of victims, and only a small fraction report this,” he said. 

Mr Musonda warned that not everyone using onlinedating sites and Facebook among other social media platforms was looking for love.  He emphasised that scammers created fake online profiles using photos of other people, even stolen pictures. “They acknowledge their love quickly. And they haul at 

 heartstrings with fictitious stories, others make up stories about how they need money for emergencies, businesses, hospital bills, or travel,” Mr Musonda said.

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