Police warn against online fraud ahead of Christmas

Mr Jimmy Haguma, from the police’s cybercrimes department, recently cautioned people to desist from clinking on any link that they come across, saying many of those are from hackers who can easily access their data. STOCK PHOTO

What you need to know:

  • Cyber-attacks have in recent times grown in their frequency and ferocity. In fact, the police registered 10,057 economic crimes from private sector fraud in 2020.

Police have cautioned the public to be on the lookout against online fraudsters that are on the rise ahead of the festive season.

Police spokesperson Fred Enanga, without giving figures, said they have registered an increase in victims of cyber fraudsters and conmen.

He said most victims are online shoppers who prefer cheap and hassle-free purchases of items such as cars and houses.

“Because of this, we have identified different areas where Ugandans tend to fall victim, especially during the festive season that is coming ahead,” Mr Enanga told journalists in Kampala yesterday.

He added: “The areas are online shopping, those that want to go for holidays within the country or abroad, the loan and investment scams, ticketing fraud for those who want to go for concerts, donations to charity, money transfers from abroad and internally, social media scammers, dating site scams, and mobile payments, among others.”

Mr Enanga urged the members of the public to avoid direct payments to sellers and carry out due diligence on them.

“Therefore, we want to caution members that as you go about your online shopping deals, please stay vigilant and at least try to carry out as much diligence as possible by checking the authenticity of the site’s products, take care of what you are buying, who are buying from, and how to pay for the purchases,” Mr Enanga said.

“Our cyber-crime unit is ready to receive such complaints of online fraud and give guidance on how to go about it,” he added.

Growing trend 

Cyber-attacks have in recent times grown in their frequency and ferocity. In fact, the police registered 10,057 economic crimes from private sector fraud in 2020. Obtaining money by false pretence was the highest crime reported under this category in 2020. It was followed by forgeries and cyber-related crimes in that order.

A 2020 report by the Police’s Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) revealed that at least Shs5 billion was fraudulently sent to 877 Airtel Uganda Sim Cards while 755 MTN Sim Cards fraudulently received at least Shs5.5 billion via mobile money. The money was quickly withdrawn by the scammers.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.