Stay awy from WhatsApp forex deals

Tom Muleya Fraud Insight

Fraudsters have made themselves authorities in foreign currency dealing.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) had to issue a warning to people buying and selling foreign currency on WhatsApp groups.

The warning came in the wake of increasing messages of foreign currency dealing circulating on various WhatsApp groups, resulting in innocent people being scammed.

Technology has simplified life, but it has also ushered in challenges as criminals manipulate cyber space to their best advantage.

In the previous articles, we looked at WhatsApp advance fee fraud, hacking, and social media aided frauds.

Fraudsters are enhancing their attacks on WhatsApp platforms because the technology has many users.

WhatsApp fraud starts with a soliciting message such as, “I have RTGS, looking for US dollar, rate $850. Anyone interested come to my inbox”.

Most of the unsuspecting victims who respond to such messages end up being defrauded. The WhatsApp inbox has become a mass slaughter house.

Since fraud is an ongoing battle, it requires ongoing preventive measures. To prevent or minimise WhatsApp related frauds, consider the following preventive measures;

  • Think security and never be careless with your hard-earned cash.
  • Avoid responding to illegal adverts of buying and selling foreign currency on WhatsApp groups. Criminals pick on their targets by making a tempting offer in the inbox.
  • Never make decisions on financial transactions based on appearance. Treat every transaction with suspicion no matter how good or lucrative it may appear,. Remeber that “All that glitters is not gold”.
  • Be careful and be responsible when dealing on the WhatsApp platform because you are accountable to yourself for your own actions.
  • Remember that many WhatsApp groups have been infiltrated by cyber criminals, so believing everything posted on the platforms purportedly sent by a group member is dangerous.
  • Avoid pressure to acquire foreign currency. Many people are being defrauded in these scams because of insatiable desire of foreign currency.
  • Develop a security mindset. This will always keep you alert to the dangers involving scams on WhatsApp groups.
  • Group administrators are responsible for promoting sound behaviour on the social platform and quickly take action once something illegal or criminal is posted on the group. Some actions may include giving a warning on those people sending such messages as well as removing them from the WhatsApp group.
  • Every other WhatsApp group member must join in the fight against fraud by discouraging members who want to deal in foreign currency to use proper and legitimate platforms or institutions such as banks.

Never put all your eggs in one basket. Some people have a tendency of wanting to convert all their money into foreign currency and this can be risky.

Get empowered by Fraud Insight and be part of a solution to the crime of WhatsApp fraud.

Tom Muleya is a Detective Assistant Inspector working under CID Commercial Crime Division, Harare. He is also a member of the National Cyber Security Taskforce, Zimbabwe. Feedback: 0772 764 043, or e-mail:[email protected].

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