Man loses $26 000 pension in cyber theft

10 Oct, 2019 - 00:10 0 Views
Man loses $26 000 pension in cyber theft

The Chronicle

Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter

A BULAWAYO man recently lost his $26 600 pension payout after he was tricked into revealing his personal identification number (PIN) code soon after receiving a dubious SMS on his phone purportedly sent by his bank.

Mr Reuben Mpofu (54) of Makokoba suburb who recently retired from the ZRP where he was a general hand received the text message on his cellphone a few days after his pension lump sum was credited into his bank account.

Sources said Mr Mpofu received his pension payout of $26 612,97 on October 2 which was deposited into his CABS account. 

Three days later, he received an SMS purportedly from the bank requesting him to enter his PIN code followed by a phone call instructing him to respond to the text message.  His money was immediately withdrawn from his account in large amounts.

“Initially, the complainant ignored the SMS before he received a phone call from a caller who identified himself as Tapera masquerading as a bank official requesting him to respond to the sent message. The unsuspecting victim then responded by supplying the suspect his PIN code after which he received a notification message informing him that $10 000 was debited from his bank account,” said the source.

Mr Mpofu got suspicious and phoned the caller who however, assured him that he was fixing the account and promised him that the money would be credited back into the complainant’s account.

“Instead of getting his (Mr Mpofu) money credited back, more money was debited from his account on two intervals leaving his account with a balance of $3,20,” said the source.

Mr Mpofu decided to visit his bank and upon making an inquiry he was advised to make a police report. Police spokesperson for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the incident yesterday, saying they have since launched investigations.

“Yes, I can confirm that a 54-year-old man from Makokoba suburb in Bulawayo lost $26 612,97 in a suspected online scam. On October 5, the complainant received an SMS on his mobile purportedly from CABS. The message read ‘<#>Alert! You are about to activate the App on a new device. OTP 317771. Do not share this OTP tzJaIDZOLCG’. The complainant had earlier ignored the first same message, which was sent at 12.13 hours on the same day with OTP 631220,” he said.

Insp Ncube warned people against responding to suspicious messages on their phones.

“As police we would like to warn members of the public against responding to suspicious messages sent on their cellphones purportedly from their banks in light of the prevalence of online scams. Should you receive phone calls from strangers requesting you to supply them with your banking details report the matter to the police.

“We urge the public to ignore requests to change their pin numbers over the phone, but to personally request such services from their banks,” said the police spokesperson.

The Government on Tuesday approved the Cyber Crime, Security and Data Protection Bill which seeks to combat cyber-crimes and enhance security in the wake of rampant abuse of the platform.

The Bill, which provides for an array of issues such as code of conduct and ethics, data protection authority and penalties for violations, will be gazetted soon. It will be tabled in Parliament for debate thereafter.

According to the Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu while briefing journalists about the 35th Cabinet decision matrix in Harare on Tuesday, the Bill will also seek to establish a data security centre and a Data Protection Authority, investigation and collection of evidence relating to Cyber Crime and unauthorised Data Collection and breaches thereof.

He said the Bill will also seek to spell out the admissibility of electronic evidence for such offences and penalties for offences committed under the Act.

There have been growing calls among citizens for Government to come up with mechanisms that control the abuse of the internet. — @mashnets.

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