With the dynamic ubiquity of technology, our global village is at enormous attack from cybercriminals. Incidences of fraud are being reported everyday on various social media platforms.
I recall coming face to face with scammers online. One day, I received an email promising me that I would receive 800 thousand pounds from an abandoned fortune and I was cautioned to keep it a secret till a transfer of money had been completed.
I later realized that they were scammers when they demanded an up-front processing fee. Thereafter, I was curious to track them down.
I discovered that their Internet Protocol (IP) address emanated from Nigeria even though they tried to spoof their identity.
Some few months ago, I received a message on my phone that I had won a random rugby tournament award to the tune of 250 thousand Rands I knew it was a scam.
Nonetheless I still communicated with them. I discovered that they were just looking for a loophole or any vulnerability.
In Malawi, there have been many reports in which some innocent Malawians were swindled their money either through Airtel money or Mpamba.
It is against this background that corruption incidences coupled by cybercriminal activities under the tutelage of Reverend Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera have reached unprecedented levels.
Not all that glitters is gold on the internet. Cybercriminals have become so cunning that they pose as if they are legitimate business magnates.
Hackers, crackers, fraudsters, and cybercriminals use various means including phishing and social engineering tactics to dupe innocent people. Big companies and governments have fallen prey to these unscrupulous fraudsters too.
Examples are numerous. The Former Agriculture Cabinet Minister, Lobin Lowe, was duped to the tune of MK750 million in the same way, thinking that he was dealing with a legitimate UK based fertilizer company, when in actual fact, the company specialises in meat products. In this era, cybercriminals can easily use technology to target their victims possibly without being traced.
As a technology savvy, the Vice President, Dr. Saulos Chilima, used the same technology to perpetrate corruption and bribery case. The intercepted audio and text communications between Chilima and corrupt suspect are a good testimony. It is my plea that corruption cases be concluded expeditiously since we have a special court now that deals with financial fraud and corrupt practices.
Recently, many Malawians were over the moon ululating and jubilating when Dr. Lazarus Chakwera signed a 6.8 billion dollars grant from a Belgium business enterprise, Bridgin Foundation.
What is surprising is that a big organisation like Bridgin Foundation with the capacity to grant such huge sum of money should choose to hide its important background information on its website for what it termed as security reasons.
This country belongs to all Malawians and as such we demand the Chakwera’s Government to disclose the conditions under which the money was granted. The allegations that Malawi will only benefit the actual buildings while Bridgin will be milking us from the fees or financial proceeds for a period of 40 years are retrogressive.
It is easy to spot scammers online. They often pretend to be from a business you know or they may make up a name that sounds official. Sometimes they say there is a problem with your accounts and that they need to verify your information. I receive such emails in my inbox all the time. They even threaten to close your account. You just need to ignore them.
The rule of the thumb is that if the offer sounds too good then probably it is a scam. A 6.8 billion grant sounds too good for an impoverished country like Malawi. Furthermore, it is unfathomable that a small company such as Bridgin Foundation can have the capacity to offer such gargantuan sum of money.
There are many scams out there. Investment scam is one of them which Chakwera’s Government is facing now.
To avoid investment scams, always transact your business with a reputable company. You can also figure out that a firm is no good if there are negative write-ups about them. If a company is trying to rush you to make a decision, it is likely that it is a bad sign. Of course, these tips are not exhaustive.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are those of the author not necessarily of The Maravi Post or Editor