PIC: Three of the five suspected fraudsters that have been arrested. (Photo credit: Kampala Metropolitan Police)
You might have once fallen victim. First, they send a congratulatory text message to your mobile phone, telling you of an amount of money you have won.
You are then swiftly asked to call a certain phone number to get your monetary prize. Once you go ahead and call, the person on the other end of the line will ask you to confirm the pin number that was sent with the original text message.
That receiver purports to be working with a telecom company. They tell you to confirm the pin number and then scratch a credit card for them to kickstart processing of your ‘prize’.
By the way, to make it even more believable, the person you are talking to promises to refund your credit when the processing is done.
But here is the catch: After defrauding you, the unsuspecting victim, they switch off the phones and there is no prize to pick up.
This, according to Kampala Police, is how these text message fraudsters do their dirty work. They have arrested five men suspected to do exactly that kind of work.
Police named the suspects as Geofrey Mutyaba, 21, Frank Mubiru, 25, Joseph Bukenya, 20, Peter Ntambi, 32 and Tom Kayizi, aged 31.
The five suspects arrested over phone fraud. (Photo credit: Kampala Metropolitan Police)
‘Like a spider’s web’
So how did local Police come to get these men?
To begin with, telecom service providers reported to Police several complaints received from many of their subscribers about a group of fraudsters sending them text messages of winning cash prices or misplaced mobile money transactions.
“Police [then] investigated the matter, identified the suspects and tracked their movements. The arrested syndicate can be best described as being similar to a spider’s webs through their call connections,” Police said in a statement posted on their official Facebook page.
“Forged documents, devices and tools, as well as phones and cards suspected to be used in the fraud, have also been seized,” Police added.
Here is an extract from the Police statement explaining how the fraudsters operation . . .
MODE OF OPERATION
The suspected fraudsters send congratulatory messages to peoples’ phones informing them of an amount of money they have won and the recipient of the text message is immediately requested to call a certain phone number to redeem his or her prize, stating that the text message is often accompanied with a fake pin number, which are all attempts to obtain the recipient’s cooperation.
The moment you call, the receiver purporting to be working with a telecommunication network will ask you to confirm the pin number and scratch a credit card for them to begin the processing of your prize. You are also promised a refund of the credit when the processing is over.
However, after defrauding they switch off the phones and there is no prize to pick up.
Other times the fraudsters send a fake mobile money message and call back requesting it back arguing it was a mistaken deposit and the unsuspecting users end up loosing huge sums of money.
Members of the general public are cautioned to be mindful of such activities for a lot of people have been swindled under this type of falsehood.
The public should take note that service providers don’t charge any money or its equivalent before prizes are redeemed and any request for money, recharge cards or airtime before a prize is redeemed is fraudulent.
Promotions from service providers are authenticated and names of winners published on their official websites.