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Oshana police warn public on emerging online scams

Written by on May 21, 2024

The police in the Oshana region say they have noticed an increase in new online scams in the region over the past few months.

This comes after two female pensioners, aged 62 and 68, were scammed out of N$50 000 and N$100 000, respectively, last week at Ondangwa and Ongwediva.

An unknown person called the two pensioners on different dates, claiming to be from two local banks and requesting permission from the victims to access their one-time passwords (OTP).

Subsequently, the two pensioners lost N$150 000 in total.

Speaking at a media briefing last week, Oshana police regional commander Naftal Sakaria said these new trends of online scams in the region are worrisome.

“Last week, we received two reports of victims who lost huge amounts of money to a scammer. One victim from Ondangwa was scammed out of N$50 000 and another from Ongwediva, lost N$100 000. These are females, they are all pensioners and retired,” Sakaria said.

He said the money was withdrawn after the victims spoke to the scammers.

“What happens is that they will call you and tell you exactly who you are and pretend to be from the bank. They know your bank and will give you specific information about your personal information, such as your ID number, and numbers on your bank card,” Sakaria said.

“They then send you a fake message, as if it is from the bank, indicating that your money is withdrawn and tell you to send an OTP, claiming to use it to reverse the transaction and, in the process, you lose your money,” he said.

Sakaria said what makes these incidents unique is that the money is not traceable, according to information they received from the banks.

“The scammers did not move the money from one account to another, they took it to some digital currencies, like bitcoin,” he said.

Sakaria said they believe it is a syndicate spearheaded by people who understand how the technology works.

Oshana deputy commissioner Fredrick Ndjadila said the two women scammed were called from foreign numbers.

“These victims were clearly targets due to what’s in their accounts. In that case, it happens that this money is not traceable due to the fact that it is no longer tangible money; it is now in the form of digital funds. Only the owner of that crypto account has access to it. It is a first of its kind in the region,” he said.

Ndjadila said the public must be vigilant so that similar situations do not happen again, especially as the scammers are using different names and different banking institutions.

“Criminals are changing trends and we must not entertain them,” he said.


Sakaria said another emerging trend is criminals sending people text messages, claiming to be offering them a job in exchange for a fee.

“What happens is that you receive an SMS . . . once you receive that SMS they will call you and say ‘sorry we have sent you a message by mistake. It is a guy that is recruiting people and is asking for a small fee’,” Sakaria said.

“Some people now get tempted after hearing that they will get employment. They are told they will be given a person who deals with recruitment. And by doing so, you will end up paying your money,” he added.

According to him, the police have some details, including phone numbers used, and investigations are underway.


Sakaria also said the police have seen a trend in people getting robbed after withdrawing huge amounts of money from banks.

However, he said police in the Oshana region have introduced free police escorts to individuals requesting it when they are going to withdraw huge amounts of money.

Sakaria said since the inception of this service, the public has been making use of it and cases of robberies have decreased.

The police have warned the public to stop entertaining calls from unknown numbers requesting personal banking information.

“The bank will never call you to ask for your confidential information. Never! The moment you get a call from such people, switch off or tell them you are on your way to your bank and you will find out if there is a problem,” Sakaria said.

“Especially people who have retired, are targeted. They know they have money coming and so on. Make sure you don’t fall for fake proofs of payment, first confirm if you have received the money and never pay for anything without seeing it,” he said.

The post Oshana police warn public on emerging online scams appeared first on The Namibian.

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