By KETRA KALUNGA
SCORES of Civil servants in Kapiri Mposhi have been swindled of their salaries and life savings by fraudsters purporting to be Zanaco employees in a scam that was executed on the same day.
The fraudster claiming to be a Zanaco employee called clients with XAPIT accounts informing them that the bank had embarked on an exercise of changing the secret code for XAPIT users from 4 to 5 digits.
The unsuspecting clients then divulged their pin numbers and soon after their accounts were accessed and money withdrawn by account transfers.
And Central province police commissioner, Chola Katanga confirmed the unfortunate incident and assured that his office would engage the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority “ZICTA” to ensure that the conmen are found and punished in accordance with the law.
The Daily Nation has interviewed five of the victims who include three female nurses at Kapiri Mposhi Urban Clinic who were swindled on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively by an unidentified male who called them using the same Airtel line.
One of the victims who is a nurse explained that she was swindled money amounting to 3, 850 on Tuesday by the trickster who told her to change the secret code while her workmate lost K10,000.
Other workers were too embarrassed to disclose the details.
She explained that when queried why such important changes involving one’s account secret code were being made through a phone call, the conmen explained that it was in order to avoid overcrowding in the bank to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“He told me that he would send a text message with six digits which I should use to change the pin code.
“When I read the message, it said don’t share so I called him back and asked why it read that way but he told me don’t worry about what it says because it’s from me, she explained.
The victim said she became reluctant after reading the “don’t share” text message and told the caller that she would rather go in person to the bank to change the secret code.
She said she was convinced when the fraudster explained that the bank had directed them to contact XAPIT clients through a phone call to avoid overcrowding in the bank in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the victims, they all received calls from this number 0975064549 while the money was transferred from their bank accounts to this MTN number 0965884039.
Another victim who lost about K10,000 school fees narrated in an interview that the swindler called and asked her to read the text messages that ZANACO sent to her mobile line.
The swindler then narrated the whole deal to her which she unfortunately believed and gave him her account secret code for him to change.
ZICTA said when contacted over the matter that they could not do much to help the victims apart from continuing to create awareness to the general public through text messages.
Public relations manager, Ngabo Nankonde explained in an interview that apart from being a criminal offence, the case falls under financial regulations, therefore, the Bank of Zambia was in a better position to help the victims and bring the culprits to book.
The victims have had their bank account secret code charged as advised by management at Zanaco Kapiri Mposhi branch while the Airtel and MTN lines for the alleged swindler remained switched off.