Be Wary of Fraudsters, Police Warn

Police have warned members of the public to be wary of scammers who pretend to be in need of assistance with translation into a local language, as a guise to steal from them.

Police spokesperson Edwin Kanguatjivi yesterday told The Namibian that they had received numerous reports from members of the public who had been robbed through this scam.

“We want to warn the public not to be good Samaritans when approached by suspicious strangers needing assistance with translation or any other suspicious request,” he said.

Kanguatjivi said the groups approach unsuspecting members of the public, asking for help in translating a language in order to seal a business deal.

“They will usually give their phones to the intended victim to speak to someone on the other end and that person will inform the victim that the person standing next to them is a wealthy businessman but that they cannot communicate because of the language barrier,” he explained.

Kanguatjivi said that once the intended victim agrees to do the translation, he or she is enticed to accompany the stranger to the person on the phone to translate for them with the promise of a cash reward afterwards.

“They will usually lead the intended victim to an isolated area where they will strip them off their valuables, including cash and cellphones,” said Kanguajtivi.

Recently, a Windhoek resident, Ellen Kashikuka, reported she was robbed in a similar manner at Klein Windhoek’s Hidas Shopping Centre on 11 March. Kashikuka told The Namibian that she was walking to a bank when a man of about 50 approached her.

“He asked for help to locate a friend in the area. He claimed they were having difficulty communicating because of a language barrier. So I did not think anything of it. I took him to meet his friend (approximately late 20s) who was at the Klein Windhoek post office,” she said, adding that she assisted them in translating from English to Oshiwambo.

“They then asked me to help them again with a third friend who was at a third location, and when I showed reluctancy, they offered me N$200 and the elder man offered me N$100 more, but I refused and walked away when they started chasing me,” she said.

Kashikuka said the two men were joined by a third person who threatened her with a knife and searched her handbag, stealing N$210 and her ATM card in the process. They allegedly also demanded her pin number.

She said the three men withdrew money from her account immediately because by the time she called her bank to block her account, money had already been withdrawn from it. She has opened a case with the police.

Kanguatjivi said so far no one had been arrested in connection with the scams but added that some of the culprits might be operating from prison through smuggled phones.

Source : The Namibian