SWINDLERS are ever creative, always coming up with new ways of robbing people of their hard-earned money and the Namibian police is warning people to always be skeptical of people coming to them pretending to be police officers.
A group of swindlers is currently active around the Okahao town in the Omusati Region, having as preferential target group people who have just retired and have received their lump-sum payments.
The latest victims include two recently retired teachers who were swindled of their money in January and early this month, respectively.
Omusati police community affairs officer Lineekela Shikongo said that the two victims were targeted in two separate incidents, but the crooks used the same modus operandi.
First, the victim receives a private call allegedly from the Revenue office. The caller has all the information about the victim, including full name, ID number and the fact that the victim has just received a lump-sum payment.
According to Shikongo, the victim is informed that he or she was wrongly overpaid and needs to pay back a certain amount.
“A few hours after the first call, the victim receives another call allegedly from the police station. He or she is informed that the earlier call was from a criminal who stole money and has deposited it in the victim’s account. The criminal was allegedly arrested and the police is coming to also arrest the victim,” said Shikongo.
In the process the fake police officers arrange to meet the victim in the Okahao town, but not at the police station.
The victim is then threatened and coerced to hand over his or her bank cards and the ID as the swindlers proceed to withdraw the money.
He said that one of the victims was dealing with the swindlers for three days, believing that they were real police officers.
“The victim lost almost half of the lamp-sum payment he received,” said Shikongo.
He is exhorting people to always be skeptical of people coming to them or calling them pretending to be police officers.
“Be wary of people who pretend to be a police officers, but who demand money. Refuse to cooperate and demand that you go with them to the police station and inside a police office, not just standing around a police station,” he said.