Telecoms group Econet Wireless has warned the public to be wary of fraudulent investment schemes being run on social media platforms. Some of these schemes use Econet’s electronic money transfer system, EcoCash, to dupe unsuspecting members of the public.
One such investment scheme called “EcoCash Trades” has been circulating on WhatsApp offering as much as 300 percent returns on investments within a 24-hour period. The platform provides a link to those keen to join the WhatsApp group and once one joins the group, they are required to provide their full names and request for an EcoCash number.
In a statement, Econet urged members of the public to be careful and where need be, investigate the legitimacy of such suspicious investment schemes. “Beware of fake investment schemes operating on the market. Some of them are offering unbelievable returns,” said Econet.
“All deposit taking institutions and investment schemes must be licensed by regulatory authorities and have an obligation to display their licenses to the public. Members of the public should therefore verify and confirm that they are dealing with a licensed institution before parting with their hard earned money.”
Bulawayo acting police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said that it was difficult to curb fraud cases due to the time it takes for a victim to discover they have been duped. “Fraud cases are challenging because of the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator. Cases are often reported after about three months as it takes some time before the victims notice they have been swindled of their money,” said Insp Ncube.
He said police were conducting awareness campaigns to warn the public against taking shortcuts in order to make money. Insp Ncube also warned the public against developing a culture of corruption in order to fast track transactions.
“We have received cases where people are selling stands illegally. People coming from the diaspora come into the country wanting to buy stands. “They are usually in a rush such that they even want to buy stands on a public holiday when council or Government offices are closed,” Insp Ncube said. He said police have noted that some unscrupulous agents purporting to rent houses often tell house seekers to pay a deposit before viewing the property. When they go to the property, they realise that the owner does not know of the arrangement.