A fake local currency racket is on the prowl in Harare with reports that the fraudsters behind these syndicates are duping unsuspecting clients thousands of US dollars daily.
It’s a syndicate well-orchestrated by the suspected fraudsters prowling the Eastgate area in Harare’s central business district.
They have become notorious for fake bond notes and US dollars extorting huge amounts of dollars as high as $10 000 on a daily basis.
For over 3 weeks this investigation tracked the suspected ring leaders of a fake bond note racket, after a tip off from a victim who lost US$200 to these suspects.
Rarely spending more than five minutes at a particular place, these alleged masterminds have managed to covertly conduct their activities and outpace many victims who come back looking for them.
Covert recordings reveal a deep secret into this syndicate.
The fake bond notes in $5 and $2 denominations are hard to detect especially for those who sell their foreign currency on the illegal foreign exchange market.
The victims only realise their plight when attempting a purchase.
Even then this investigation also found out that the alleged fraudsters follow their victims to nearby supermarkets and offer to buy their groceries using point of sale machines.
In this way they retain the fake currency and await their next victim.
The source of the fake bond notes remains a mystery but there are hints that it’s an underground operation being conducted in the avenues area involving both local and foreign nationals.
A law announced by the government early this year on illegal foreign currency trading appears to be losing in weeding out the illegal forex dealers whose numbers have ballooned over the last 2 months.
The fear now is that the fake currency rackets are triggering inflation and further weakening the bond note which is now trading at to 1:9 on the parallel market.