SEVERAL commercial banks in Zambia have been robbed of more than US$4 million (about KR20 million) since January this year, through a sophisticated cyber-crime syndicate by foreigners who are conniving with Zambians.
The foreigners are recruiting and training Zambians to siphon money from Automated Teller Machines (ATM).
Police Deputy Inspector General Solomon Jere said police officers had since been placed on high alert.
“As Zambia Police, we would like to assure the nation that we are on the look-out for these criminals and once caught, they will face the wrath of the law,” Dr Jere said in a statement yesterday.
He said three foreign nationals were key orchestrators of the crime and had been recruiting Zambians to spread their criminal activities on unsuspecting banks across the country. “Police have discovered a scam in which three foreign criminals have recruited and trained Zambians in cyber-crime. The recruited Zambians have already started operating.
“They are ‘specialised’ in Automated Teller Machines (ATM) thefts. So far, about $4 million has already been stolen from different banks through ATM withdraws,” he said.
He warned members of the public to secure their pin numbers and not to at any time share them with anyone offering to help them during an ATM transaction.
It was also advisable not to expose pin numbers when making ATM transactions in isolation.
“These criminals may also take advantage of upcoming events such as the Zambia International Trade Fair in Ndola and the Lusaka Agricultural and Commercial show. Therefore, would-be attendants of these events are advised to take extra care of their personal documents and property to make sure they don’t become victims of such thefts,” he said.
Additionally, Police had mobilised officers specialised in cyber-crime prevention to present sensitisation programmes for the benefit of members of the public.
Meanwhile, seven dangerous criminals have escaped from prison in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and have entered Zambia.
Dr Jere said the criminals had entered the country through Sakanya Border on the Copperbelt.
“The criminals escaped in the early hours of Wednesday this week and are believed to be heading for the Copperbelt and Lusaka Provinces,” he said.
Police officers on the Copperbelt, Central and Lusaka provinces have since been directed to intensify road blocks and snap check points.
/ Times of Zambia