Tom Muleya Fraud Insight
A single incident of sudden and unexpected financial loss is associated with a myriad of serious social problems such as chronic illnesses, depressions, mental illnesses, suicides and abject poverty.
Therefore protection of self, personal data and exercise of responsible or proper behaviour on social media is critical.
Like in road traffic accidents, where negligent driving accounts for most fatalities, on internet and social media too, irresponsible or negligent behaviour is the major factor leading to fraud victimisation.
Cyber fraud is not as so much complex as some physical crimes in terms of its commission.
It involves the will-power or the voluntary action or participation either consciously or subconsciously by the victim. But once a victim suffers loss, identifying the perpetrator and recovery of money is very difficult.
The anonymity advantage of cyber space gives advantage to the criminals. In light of that, every social media user must outsmart cyber criminals by seriously considering issues of safety and security when using the internet and social media.
Currently, fraudsters are launching serious attacks on WhatsApp Groups. Some messages in the name of a well-known group member purporting to offer a US$ at a down to earth rate are sent on the platform.
A transfer number Ecocash, Telecash or OneMoney is then provided or supplied so that those interested may immediately make transfers.
Due to trust and unlikely suspicion that a group member can cheat, unsuspecting victims make transfers to the fraudulent account.
The perpetration of these WhatsApp scams normally has two origins. It’s either a group member with a criminal mind originates the fraudulent transaction taking advantage of the trust other members have on him or her.
When the crime is committed, these fraudsters would allege that they don’t know anything and suspect that their number or account has been hacked by cyber criminals.
The other explanation is that a group member purporting to be soliciting for RTGS in exchange for a good rate of US$ would actually have been hacked and therefore the hackers will be in control of the account.
They also commit the crime by taking advantage of the trust group members have for each other.
In order to protect yourself on Social media platforms and minimise incidences of fraud committed on WhatsApp groups, consider the following suggested tips;
- “Think before You Click”. The ability to think is a God given gift to everyone. When a message is sent on social media, people should take time to think, ponder, reason, and ask questions before a decision is reached. Some rushed decisions and responding to unverified messages will always result tears.
- Remember that you are not always safe and secure on social media. Keep your software updated. Cyber criminals may hack and gain access to your system. Once they do so, they can hack and or defraud several people on your WhastApp group.
- Manage your social media settings. Ensure you keep your personal and private information locked down. Make sure you don’t share your information publicly such as posting sensitive information on social media.
- Train yourself on acceptable behaviour on Social Media that you will not regret.
- Take responsibility and take measures to help protect your-self against identity theft. Identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully obtains your personal data through deceptive ways or fraud for economic gain.
- Avoid trickery ways that solicit you to send or forward personal information or your money.
- If you cannot beat the temptation to “clink”, please never send huge amounts of money. This will lead to untold suffering in your life and family. Better lose little money, whose pain and loss you will be able to manage.
- Do not over trust members of your WhatsApp group; they may be criminals within the group.
- Report to the Police any suspicious transaction before many people fall victim.
Take responsibility of yourself because your future depends on your good and responsible actions. Remember, just one negligent and thoughtless act will ruin your life and household economy.
Get empowered by Fraud insight and be part of a solution to cybercrime. Watch out for the next issue.
For your feedback, WhatsApp line: 0772 764 043, or e-mail:[email protected] Tom Muleya is a Detective Assistant Inspector working under the Criminal Investigations Department. Harare