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Cybercriminals target Zambia as country battles with COVID-19

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 08 Apr 2020
Zambian law enforcement officials confirm a spike in cybercrime as digital transactions increase amid COVID-19.
Zambian law enforcement officials confirm a spike in cybercrime as digital transactions increase amid COVID-19.

Cybercriminals in Zambia are taking advantage of an increase in online financial transaction services amid the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19), according to law enforcement officials.

Zambia police service spokesperson Esther Mwata Katongo said unsuspecting members of the public have been conned out of a lot of money and in the past three weeks, the police have recorded at least 56 incidents of theft involving “thousands of Kwachas” from banks.

Katongo added that mobile money services have also been targeted and that fraudsters are calling people pretending to be officials from mobile money providers purporting to be conducting network tests and end up getting account details.

“I wish to advise members of the public to always verify any information, requests or promotions with financial or business institutions before committing themselves to any online transaction or before giving out personal details,” Katongo warned.

Edith Mwale, a financial and economic analyst at Zambia’s Ministry of Finance and National Planning said: “So far no arrests have been made but I think there is really need for the police to keep pace with technological developments and have the required expertise and skills to deal with digital crime that is ever increasing in the country.”

Since March 2020 the government, banks and mobile money service providers have encouraged have been encouraging mobile money use and online payments for local transactions instead of cash in a bid to stem the spread of the virus.

The Bank of Zambia has increased daily limits and waived fees on nominal transfers via mobile money in a bid to encourage use of mobile money services.

The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has warned of increased cybercrimes which it attributed to among other reasons the rapid adoption and uptake of internet services in the country.

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