Wednesday, September 23, 2020

International Credit Card scam syndicate opens branch in Botswana

An international Credit Card scam syndicate is understood to have opened a criminal branch operation in Botswana and millions of dollars have been stolen by the use of fraudulent cards.
Already, a suspect is in police custody and it turned out that the suspect is also wanted by Interpol, the international police.

It is understood that the suspect was arrested while relaxing in a Presidential Suite in one of the lodges in Kasane.

A tour operator was recently reported to have lost about $ 1 million through these credit card scams.
Lodges and tour operators have reportedly become favoured victims of such criminal activity.

In an interview with The Sunday Standard, Detective Superintendent Tsweneitsele, of the Criminal Investigation Department in Francistown said the country is being hit by an international credit card scam.
He said the syndicate uses either Internet or SMS to defraud their victims.

Tsweneitsele explained that they are investigating a case in which a tour operator in Kasane allegedly lost about P800 000 through fraudulent credit cards, adding that the money was apparently transferred to some of the commercial banks in Ghana.

He said they had already arrested a Zimbabwean national, Coven Blas├®, who is allegedly linked to the scam syndicate.

Tsweneitsele said Blas├® has already appeared briefly before the magistrate court and added that Blas├® is also wanted by Interpol for the same offences.

The Detective Superintended said they had received some complaints from across the world to the effect that their credit cards were being used in Botswana without their permission.
He appealed to the public, especially the business community, to always be on the lookout for such fraudulent cards.

Meanwhile, Tsweneitse said there is another syndicate comprised of Zimbabweans, Zambians and Mozambicans which also specializes in fake credit cards.

He said the syndicate uses the credit cards to buy mainly fuel which they then take to their respective countries.
“I am aware of such a scam and my lodge has not yet been hit because of the system we use,” said Mr Johan Bruwer, the General Manager of the Chobe Game Lodge.

He said the best way to minimize such criminal activity is to engage a middle man when booking.

He urged the business community that they should always be careful when they accept or use credit cards.
Monica Kgaile, the director of Water Lily Lodge, said bank officials recently visited her lodge and briefed them about the scam.

Kgaile said the lecture was very informative and that since her lodge had not yet been a victim, they were going to be extra careful when accepting credit cards.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.