Ongwediva – Although cybercrime was once uncommon in Namibia, nowadays more people are claiming to have lost thousands to criminals who run their ‘businesses’ from social media.
The Namibian Police public relations officer, Chief Inspector Kauna Shikwambi, confirmed that cases have been reported to the police involving people paying for services or goods from people they have never met in person.
Many have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to criminals masquerading as real estate agents, wedding planners, traders in hair and beauty products, as well as clothing, among many others.
Shikwambi warned that people must always ensure they have confirmed that the business they are dealing with is legitimate and should always meet service providers in person. One of the social media victims Rauha Sheyavali said she had dealings with an alleged imposter on Facebook who swindled her out of N$4 220 last December.
“We had a wedding at home and my sister told me that she saw someone on Facebook who was selling cheap Brazilians (hair). We contacted him and he asked us to send him some money as deposit. I sent N$3 000 to his account and N$1 220 through eWallet,” explained Sheyavali who is a resident of Tsumeb.
The person under the name ‘Johanes Gabes’ never delivered the hair as promised. Sheyavali claimed Gabes’ company sounded legitimate as he told her he was in business with some local celebrities known to be in the Brazilian hair business.
But Sheyavali became worried and alarmed when ‘Gabes’ would no longer answer her phone calls.
At some point he allegedly claimed he was unable to deliver as promised, following ‘the deaths’ of both his parents and twin brother.
“I really felt pity for him at the beginning, but when I searched his Facebook page I discovered that in 2009 he had an update on the death of both his parents and his twin brother. That was when I realised I was dealing with a crook,” said Sheyavali.
Sheyavali has since opened a case at Tsumeb Police Station. Two more alleged clients of Gabes claimed to have been cheated of N$1 300 and N$1 050 respectively but the number of people swindled by the suspect could be more.
When called by New Era, Gabes claimed he and two “white ladies who are foreign nationals” owned three shops – in Okahandja, Oshakati and Walvis Bay.
Although he acknowledged he was aware of a case opened against him, he refused to shed light on other alleged fraudulent claims against him, claiming his clients should contact him directly.
When confronted about his so-called dead parents and a brother, Gabes first claimed that both his mother and father had died in 2009, but he later went on to confess that his parents were well and alive and he had no twin brother.
New Era understands Gabes is an inactive boxer, whose career is on the rocks due to lack of a sponsor.
He does not have any source of income, apart from conning prospective Brazilian hair buyers. He also does not own a car as he allegedly claims.
Another alleged popular social media fraudster who has a number of ongoing cases against her is a certain ‘Martha Iitana.’
Iitana, an alleged wedding planner, is said to have swindled brides and grooms in different regions, through her non-existing company Kulah Investment CC.
Iitana has a matrix of alleged fraud cases pending against her in Oshana, Omusati and Erongo where her victims live.
Cybercrime is so big worldwide that some estimates say this spectre costs the world economy about US$500 billion which is more than the GDP of South Africa.