AT a time when Mobile money has become the best alternative mode of transacting in Zimbabwe owing to the prevailing cash crisis, unscrupulous daring criminals have hijacked the platform for evil deeds.
In most cases, they come appearing to be genuine buyers looking for a decent transaction and just at the blink of an eye, they rob you.
By Mirriam Kunjanja
TechnoMag’s #Out&About Team paid a visit to a number of businesses which fell victim to criminals who used Ecocash on them, just to get a feel of how exactly the criminals hoodwink their prey.
According to shop owners who spoke to us, these EcoCash criminals use different ways which include copying the previous legitimate confirmation code and editing it with the victim’s details and then use one’s confirmation code multiple times.
The criminal gets into a shop to buy clothing for instance worth $100 and they indicate that they want to use EcoCash, upon getting the phone of the victim they follow the whole process of paying or sending money up to where they get the full name of the victim then they cancel the transactions instead of confirming. They then pull up a previous legit confirmation code, copy and edit it with the victims full name and the amount they are supposed to be paying.
“Because Ecocash encounters technical glitches at times and their system would be down or it delays to send the confirmation, the criminal then shows the victim the edited fake confirmation to the victim and shift blame on the poor network.
Because you would have seen the confirmation code with their correct full names and the deal is done, the temptation to believe its genuine is true, and in the process you are robbed,” said a Shop Owner in Kwame Maul who fell victim to this evil.
The victim will only realise that they have been duped after a while but not knowing what exactly happened.
There also comes another group of criminals who use one confirmation code multiple times. These ones for example go to a fuel station say at around 2pm and top up fuel worth $30 and they make it a point to come back the following day at around the same time and say they have made an EcoCash transaction worth $30 again and because of the pressure the fuel attendant will again fuel up for the same guy without cross checking.
This trick is used to retailers and vendors as well as there is a tendency of trusting clients even worse for the regular client so when they are shown a confirmation code they tend not to pay attention to detail.
“I am a victim of this EcoCash robbery, I don’t know if it’s my phone or what but whenever someone sends me money via EcoCash.
“I do not receive any message but the transaction would have been successful so I then have to check my balance but on that particular day I just thought it was the same problem on my side and because I had so many clients to attend to I did not check my balance resulting in me loosing $150 and i am sure that there are more than 5 people in this mall who have been victims,” said Chikwu Emeka a Nigerain Shop dealer at Market Square Mall.