Kampala, Uganda | URN | Joint security operatives from the military and Uganda Police Force are tracing fraudsters accused of conning more than 200 civil servants with promises of study opportunities abroad.
The affected civil servants from various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies-MDAs have been receiving calls on landlines from people claiming to have been assigned to scrutinize civil servants who will go to study in Europe and America on government sponsorship.
Now, spy teams from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), Crime Intelligence (CI), and Internal Security Organization (ISO) have established that the scammers have been using landlines like +256414673797, something that has been giving some civil servants hope that they were dealing with genuine people.
Speaking on behalf of the security agencies that have been assigned to probe the fraudsters, police spokesperson Fred Enanga says that after convincing the civil servants, the con-artistes would then ask them to send money for updating their documents. The money would allegedly go to the secretary of a committee set up to vet those who qualify for overseas study.
“The security agencies are aware of the continuous telephone scams by individuals purporting to be officials from Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, who make scam phone calls to public officials making false claims of study abroad. They further request for money to update passport records and process travel documents on a private mobile money number. Others offer bursaries, promotions, job opportunities to relatives,” Enanga said.
The agencies have since established that the sim card that the scammers directed the civil servants to send money to is registered in the name of one Maria. Enanga has urged all the victims to come out and provide details of how they were conned so that the entire group can be arrested and charged.
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Although Enanga didn’t reveal the details of the victims, the joint security teams probing the incident estimate that the victims could be more than 200. The fleecing of civil servants with the promise of study opportunities abroad and job promotions comes on the heels of an earlier warning by the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) of conmen targeting people largely relying on technology to transact businesses.
UCC’s Communications officer, Rebecca Mukite said they had noticed a spike in cases of transaction fraud, fraud in the form of misinformation, fake news, cyberbullying, email fraud, and tricking unsuspecting individuals that NIRA, telecoms, and UCC wanted to change their sim card or bank details.
Like the civil servants, Mukite said the fraudsters instruct people to send money on given telephone lines, and afterward, switch off the sim cards forever.
“We would like to categorically emphasize that UCC never calls consumers for any reason. Telecom companies never call their consumers for any form of verification and or update or upgrade. We advise the public that should they receive any such call, hang up immediately,” Mukite said.