Last week, Emmanuel Musisi, a senior four dropout saw a post on Facebook purportedly from the Minister for Works, Eng. Monica Ntege Azuba announcing a donation of several motorcycles to unemployed youths.
To the unsuspecting Musisi, this was his chance to at least get a form of employment and he never hesitated to take up the chance by calling one of the numbers on the facebook post but little did he know that it was a trap to fleece him of money by fraudsters.
Between March 2018 and June 2018, 27-year-old Geoffrey Kalele fleeced several police officers of huge sums of money in the name of the Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth Ochola.
According to police, Kalele opened up a facebook account in Ochola’s name in which he asked police officers money so as to ensure they are promoted and by the time he was arrested, many had fallen victim.
Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga says at least 10 government officials have either fallen prey to the scam or their names have been used by fraudsters to get an unspecific amount of money from the public.
He names Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of parliament, Prime Minister, DrRuhakana Rugunda, the Commander Land Forces, Gen.Peter Elwelu, UNRA Executive Director Allen Kagina, First Lady Janet Museveni, Kasule Lumumba, the NRM Secretary General and Bart Katureebe, the Chief Justice as some of the government officials whose names have been used by fraudsters to con members of the public.
How it is done
According to Musisi, after seeing the post, he called the number and was asked to send mobile money on the same before getting one of the motorcycles but he says after sending the money, “Eng. Azuba” switched off her number.
Between January and March 2019, one Medard Mugenyi opened up a facebook page in the name of David Karubanga, the State Minister for Public Service and started soliciting money from members of the public with a promise of getting them government jobs.
By the time he was arrested, many members of the public had fallen prey and huge sums of money had been lost.
Police say that many other fraudsters open up Facebook accounts and pages and post pictures enticing members of the public to click on them.
On opening the photos, it gives access to details of personal accounts for members of the public and ends up being fleeced.
Last year, two people were jailed for blocking of sim cards and defrauding people using telephone lines belonging to Lands minister, Persis Namuganza, Youth MP Mwine Mpaka and minister for Agriculture, Christopher Kyebazanga.
These would disable the sim cards for the government officials so they could not receive calls but on the other hand, the fraudsters would make calls using the numbers to unsuspecting members of the public soliciting for funds by telling them that they were in meetings and needed them to send a certain amount of money to a given number.
When the unsuspecting member of the public would try to call back, the call could not go through but would proceed to send the amount asked.
“The fraudsters use phony profiles for VIPs and government employees to work their way into the social relations of the public and spread falsehoods. They dupe their targets into paying money, revealing personal information and gaining access to computers and bank accounts,” police spokesperson, Fred Enanga says.
“Other scam types include threats and extortion, fake charities, jobs, investments, advertisements, and online payments.”
Enanga adds that these scams are a profitable business for organized criminals who are increasingly becoming professional in fleecing members of the public.
Police warn the public against using the contact information provided by callers although the phone numbers or the email may appear authentic.
“Avoid out of the blue emails and phone calls especially if they are demanding for money, personal information or asking to charge bank details. Avoid opening suspicious texts, pop-up windows or clients or a link or an attachment in the email,” Enanga warns.
The police mouthpiece also asks members of the public to regularly change their personal information security setting including passwords.
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