Monday, February 17, 2014

Beware of Business Scams on the Internet

These days more and more Zimbabweans are doing business online; from online ordering to online paymets. This increases risk of online business scams whilst it is good. Scammers are so shameless. They go to an extent of registering a domain and even creating a website to defraud people.
A few months ago, a colleague of mine Matt, gave me a call. He indicated that he wanted to see me and it was very important. He suggested we should meet at an internet cafe, which we did. After some greetings he invited me to sit next to him on a computer. He explained to me that he finally had secured a business deal and was going to make lots of money. He explained that an Indian explosives company wanted to partner with him in their explosives business.

They requested him to arrange a warehouse in Zimbabwe for the storage of the mining explosives. They would then ship the explosives to him and all he had to do was to market and sell these to mining companies. He had already secured a warehouse in Mt Darwin. Imagine how much he had lost in this?

Now the so called partners had requested him to send some money for the shipment of the first batch of explosives and he was now arranging to make an online payment and therefore needed my assistance as an ICT colleague on how to make online payments  and to lend him a few hundred dollars for the payment I guess!

I listened very intently as he narrated his story. I then asked him to open the email communications he had made with this new business partner. The sender email address was a yahoo one. That kind used by scammers, something like

I warned him that he was dealing with scammers. The company had a web site and we visited the website. I asked to check the contacts page on the web site, which to our surprise the correspondent's email address was not listed and neither was the guy's name listed on the contact people. My colleague also became suspicious.

Not to quickly rush into conclusions, I advised him to contact the company via the listed contact details and ask if they knew anyone by the guy's name who worked for their company before I parted with Matt. A few weeks later, we confirmed the business deal was a scam.

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