Police have warned members of the public to be wary of a syndicate of criminals that is swindling people of their hard-earned cash through card cloning and online banking.
This comes after several people lost their money after either receiving a call or an SMS from people purporting to be employees from their banks.
Most of the victims received a call from phone line number +263864479973.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the increase in such cases.
“There is an increase in the number of fraud cases through card cloning and online banking,” he said.
“Criminals are targeting pensioners or people with large sums of money in their accounts.”
Asst Comm Nyathi said, recently, a Victoria Falls man lost $19 685,05 after he received a call from +263864479973 with the caller claiming to be a bank employee.
“The caller was armed with all information concerning the man and he requested his PIN number and asked him to confirm through SMSs on his cellphone,” he said. “Within a short space of time, the money had been withdrawn from his account.
“We encourage the public not to respond to SMS from unknown bank officials or divulge their passwords over the phone.”
In another case, a man recently received a call from the same number with the unknown caller purporting to be an official from a local bank.
“The caller informed the unsuspecting complainant that he was fixing his account so that he could receive instant messages after every transaction from the bank,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
“He went on to request the complainant to supply their PIN number and the complainant complied. A few minutes thereafter, the complainant received a message advising him that some money had been withdrawn from his account.
“On checking with the bank, he discovered that the money had been stolen. This is a growing phenomenon. We urge the public not to be lured to change their PIN numbers on the phone, but should personally do so at their banks.”
Last year, police warned members of the public to be wary of such criminals and over 154 cases have been reported countrywide.
Card cloning involves the production of counterfeit bank debit cards by criminals after fraudulently acquiring bank debit/credit card information contained in the magnetic strip of the bank debit card.
The criminals are acquiring bank debit card information through gadgets known as skimmers. The skimmers are able to extract debit card information and the said devices are similar to Point of Sale (POS) machines.
Some criminals also steal POS machines from shops and service stations for the purpose of uploading data which they use to clone debit cards.