POLICE have unearthed an ATM card fraud scam where the fraudsters were targeting business people and individuals’ accounts to withdraw large sums of money.
The net is closing on a number of individuals who are using several ATM cards, mobile phones and fake identity particulars in scamming their targets.
As investigations intensify, detectives recently recovered 88 mobile phone lines, 11 ATM cards and three fake drivers licences from one of the suspects’ Manyame Park, Chitungwiza home.
The suspect, Trynos Muzanenhamo (23), is alleged to have stolen close to $500 000 from a Mutare business man using several techniques of ATM card fraud and impersonification.
Muzanenhamo has since been hauled before Mutare magistrate, Ms Prisca Manhibi, facing fraud charges.
He was granted $50 000 bail.
Prosecuting, Ms Tafadzwa Chiwanza said the suspect stole from Mr Nyasha Mundembe.
“On November 15, the complainant who is the owner of a grocery shop at Chikanga Spar trading as Big Byte mistakenly made two transactions to purchase Econet data bundles using a CABS banking mobile application.
“The complainant searched for the accused person’s cell number registered in the name of Dennis Samu from a WhatsApp group titled “Mutare adverts” in which the accused person had previously advertised that he offers Econet and NetOne customer services.
“The complainant contacted the accused person to help him reverse the purchase of the excess data bundles. The accused asked the complainant to send him a copy of his national identification card through WhatsApp and he complied,” said Ms Chiwanza.
It is alleged that Muzanenhamo requested a onetime password (OTP) from Mr Mundembe indicating that he wanted to finalise the reversal.
Acting upon the misrepresentation, Mr Mundembe sent the password to Muzanenhamo.
“Moments later, Muzanenhamo was in control of Mr Mundembe’s CABS Bank account number and he used the password to transfer $87 750 from that account to another CABS account number registered in the name Tendai Nemeso.
“Mr Mundembe reported the matter at Mutare Central Police Station on the same day. On November 16, the accused person transferred $51 300 from the complainant’s CABS account to a CABS account registered in the name of Bezel Nyakuba as well as $2 800 to Muzanenhamo’s One money account number.
“Police alerted CABS Bank, Mutare, who managed to block Tendai Nemeso and Bezel Nyakuba’s accounts. Police also managed to alert NetOne Zimbabwe’s Mutare office and Muzanenhamo’s One money account was also blocked before the money could be withdrawn,” said Ms Chiwanza.
On November 21, Muzanenhamo allegedly made a sim card replacement for Mr Mundembe’s mobile number at Chigovanyika Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza after producing a fake driver’s licence with his photo and the complainant’s details.
He then registered the newly replaced sim card on WhatsApp and started using it, purporting to be Mr Mundembe.
Muzanenhamo allegedly sent a message on a wholesalers’ WhatsApp group looking for local currency in exchange of United States dollars.
Samson Chikunguru responded to Muzanemhano’s message thinking he was communicating with Mr Mundembe.
“The accused person gave Chikunguru three different accounts to transfer the money into. Chikunguru made two ZB Bank internal transfers of $77 250 and $55 500. He also made a First Capital Bank internal transfer of $14 8750 and a $17 500 transfer from CBZ Bank to an Ecocash number registered under Francis Ditima’s name.
“Mr Mundembe later realised that his Econet line had been blocked and he informed the police. Police swiftly reacted to the information and the accounts where the money had been transferred into were blocked before the money could be withdrawn.
“After thorough investigations, Muzanenhamo was arrested at Chigovanyika Shopping Centre and he voluntarily led the police officers to his place of residence in Chitungwiza,” said Ms Chiwanza.
At his place of residence, detectives recovered a fake Zimbabwean driver’s licence bearing Muzanenhamo’s face and Mr Mundembe’s details.
They also recovered two fake Zimbabwean driver’s licences bearing Francis Ditima and Itai Mawoyo’s names.
A total of 11 cellphones, mobile phone lines and ATM cards were also recovered from the suspect.
Muzanenhamo implicated Julius Mupome as the one who manufactured the fake IDs. – Manica Post