Deep Dive

The Scammed And The Near Scammed Tell Their Story

A Nadi businessman was able to recognise the conniving, however a Suva woman was not so lucky. The woman lost thousands of dollars after being lured into a scam which claims to give people residency in Europe.
30 Jul 2020 13:40
The Scammed And The Near Scammed Tell Their Story

Imagine this. You’ve spent close to a whopping $16,000 in the past five years with hopes of getting residency overseas only to find out that it was all a scam?

Hard to imagine. But sadly, it is true.

This is only, but one of the many stories of how Fijians are getting duped by overseas, and more so now, by our very own fellow Fijians for financial gain.

The same tactic that overseas scammers have done to scam their own are now being copied by our locals.

And again, the usual advice by Police to be vigilant seem to be falling on deaf ears.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro in response to a number of complaints lodged reiterated that people had to verify who they were being contacted by.

“Members of the public need to be vigilant and verify details of anyone they are intending to conduct business with or when there is an exchange of money for goods or services, especially if it’s done online,” she said.

In this edition, we will explore some of the experiences that the scammed and the near scammed have openly shared in the hope that the gullible do not fall into the trap.

Here’s their story:

Mohammed Nafeez

A Nadi businessman, who was being targeted through fake accounts on social media and phone apps, hopes to make people aware of what can happen.

Mohammed Nafeez was able to recognise the con, however a Suva woman was not so lucky. The woman lost thousands of dollars after being lured into a scam which claims to give people residency in Europe.

Mohammed Nafeez, Nadi businessman.

Mohammed Nafeez, Nadi businessman.

Similarly, some have sent money abroad through another scam on Facebook which tells people that there is a $90,000 grant given by Facebook.

Another scam on Facebook is targeted at seafarers.

There is an advertisement in Facebook where it says lucrative work for sailors and skilled seafarers is available in Canada.

Mr Nafeez operates his IT based business from Nadi called You Break I Fix Computers and Electronics. He specialises in CCTV sale and installation along with other IT-based work.

He received a viber call from an Australian number. The caller identified himself as Chris Shah with the promise of a paid job for his company.

Mr Nafeez was asked if he could install two by four camera kit setups in Suva. Mr Nafeez declined saying his focus was in the West as he was based in Nadi.

He was then told that he would be paid $1000 each for a kit. Working out his cost, Mr Nafeez agreed to the work.

“As I was about to tell him to pay some deposit, he said I will pay you 100 per cent today, so I said please transfer me money via Western Union at which this fellow responded that he is busy in office and will not be able to transfer money via Western Union rather do an online transfer via ANZ Online Banking as he has to make some transfer to his staff who is stuck somewhere in Taveuni,” Mr Nafeez said.

He said he was informed by Mr Shah that he had contacts in BSP Fiji and would arrange payments and bank details were requested.

“After a while he calls me and says he will send me the screenshot of the money that has been transferred to my account,” he said.

“He then calls me again and tells me that the bank has limit on online transfer of $2000 and he did not send the money to his staff and requests me to transfer $400 via MPaisa to the contact that he will viber me so that his staff whose boat leaves in an hour’s time is able to get back to Mainland via Gounder Shipping and that he (Shah) will transfer me $500 next day that includes all cost for my running around).”

The latter calls were made from a local number but appeared as unknown. With his IT background, Mr Nafeez managed to trace the source of the calls and found a fake account as well.

A complaint was lodged at the Namaka Police Station.

Mr Nafeez said he wanted to create awareness so people do not get conned. He said in his case, the initial call was made by an Australian number on Viber, to create the idea that it was an international call.

He said alarm bells rang when he was asked to deposit money via M-Paisa. He realised the call was local and intent was to siphon money from him.

Sereana Uciwai

For the past five years, Ms Uciwai has been sending money to someone who claims to be in England. She was lured in with a promise of residency in London with work.

The retired teacher fell for it and since then has sent about $16,000.

Her son, Waisake, became suspicious after her mother had asked him to send money because she had run out.

He realised that her mother had been sucked into a scam. Waisake said his mother was still refusing to believe that she had been conned.

Jason Singh

Mr Singh was contacted by his sister-in-law via Messenger. The message read; “Haven’t you heard. I was just given a grant of $90,000 by Facebook. I am going to pay off my loans and invest my money. You can apply too and a link was sent.”

Mr Singh found this to be a very strange message from his sister-in-law. He immediately called her phone and established that she was not messaging him and she had her account hacked.

Mr Singh then pretended to be interested in the grant. The person messaging kept on insisting to click on the link.


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