Beware – scammers on the prowl

Elsewhere in this newspaper, we go into great detail about how ordinary people are being scammed off their hard-earned money through a gambling game.

‘Feja feja’ is a popular game that has taken the streets of Harare by storm by luring gamblers to risk their money in the hope of hitting the jackpot.

The concept of the game revolves around a person who spins bottle tops containing an object inside.

Gamblers who will be around the person place their bets and attempt to guess which bottle top will match the concealed object.

Unknown to the gamblers is that the game is not fair at all. In fact, investigations by this publication revealed that most gamblers work together to make sure that the participants lose.

The elaborate scam is made appealing to unsuspecting members of the public by emotional screams of excitement that can be heard from a person who would have ‘won’.

Such antics succeed in alluring gamblers to bet their money in the hope of also winning big – thereby falling into the trap of the fraudsters.

‘Feja feja’ is just one example of the many scams in which unsuspecting members of the public are falling prey to money-making schemes with fake ‘get rich quick’ promises.

In July this year, a 39-year-old Chinese national Zhao Jiaotong appeared before the Harare Magistrates’ Court for allegedly defrauding members of the public of over US$1 million through the e-creator Ponzi scheme.

Jiaotong is being jointly charged with Trymore Tapfumaneyi and Justin Kuchekanya and all of them were denied bail by magistrate Marewanazvo Gofa.

E-creator was a firm that promised investors quick money by sharing positive reviews on e-commerce sites worldwide.

According to investigations by the state, Jiaotong executed his plan to defraud unsuspecting Zimbabwean nationals through “online investment” that was done through a company he had formed.

Eager to make a lot of money, many Zimbabweans flocked to the company and invested up to US$1 million through various Ecocash numbers supplied on the platform by Jiaotong.

The fake investment company made their scheme more appealing to the public by advertising with the mainstream media. They also employed various agents in the major towns around the country as part of a vigorous marketing campaign.

None of the money lost by the ‘investors’ has been recovered.

And do you remember the pyramid schemes?

Not so long ago, people were encouraged to invest a certain amount of money into schemes that would see them getting twice or thrice the amount in return.

But what is too good to be true often is not! Many of the people who used their money to take part in the schemes lost it all after it emerged the investment vehicles were elaborate scams meant to steal the money of unsuspecting people.

In many cases, those at the helm of these scams would have long escaped before their illegal and criminal activities have been unraveled.

The few who were caught are either in court or have been sentenced to lengthy jail terms.

It is high time that all Zimbabweans are aware of the many money-making schemes that are out to scam them off their money.
Be vigilant. There is no smoke without fire!

Leave a Reply