Family Left Stranded, Duped By Casino Fraudsters
19 September 2023
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Zimbabwean Family Left Homeless and in Debt After Falling Victim to Online Lotto Scam**

In a tragic and heartbreaking story, a family in Beitbridge, Zimbabwe, has been left homeless and burdened with a $2,000 (approximately R40,000) debt after falling prey to a cunning online lotto scam.

Taurai Amani, a 71-year-old resident of Dulivhadzimu in Beitbridge, had endured misfortune over a decade ago when he lost part of his house during Operation Restore Order (Murambatsvina), leaving him with just two rooms. However, he continued to dream of providing a bigger home for his children and grandchildren.

In 2019, it seemed that his dream had come true when his son received a message claiming he had won £1 million from an online competition in the United Kingdom. Little did they know that this was an elaborate scam.

Amani’s son was instructed to deposit $2,000 through Western Union to claim his prize. Filled with excitement and desperation, Amani borrowed the money and sent his son to make the payment.

Their ordeal took a dark turn when the scammers demanded an additional $1,000. Suspecting foul play, Amani turned to the police for help, only to discover that they had been victims of a scam.

Tragically, the borrowed $2,000 was never repaid, and as Amani had used his house as collateral, it was seized by the lender.

Last week, based on a court order, the Amani family was evicted from their home, leaving them in dire straits.

The community has since rallied to their aid, determined to raise the necessary funds to help the family. Boyd Maphosa, a neighbor, expressed their commitment to repay the landlord, Mr. Golden, saying, “Our plan is to raise the money within the shortest possible time so that we pay back Mr. Golden.”

Amani, now distraught, shared his regrets, saying, “I felt the gods had answered my prayers of owning a bigger house for my family.” He also urged caution when dealing with online messages.

Alaska Mafuka, a para-legal consultant, offered advice to others, emphasizing the importance of seeking legal assistance when entering into agreements and conducting due diligence. This heartbreaking story serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of online scams and the importance of vigilance in the digital age..