A joint team of Zambia Police and Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority – ZICTA Officers have arrested 20 people in Nchelenge Luapula Province for mobile money scamming.
The Nchelenge based Tokota boys who are known as ‘Impiya shabalanda’ are believed to be behind a scam in which random text messages were sent to different phone numbers informing unsuspecting people about impiya shabalanda, youth empowerment, military recruitment and making magic money to different phone numbers across the country.
Minister of Science and Technology Felix Mutati posted on his official Facebook page stating that through the National Cyber Security Task Force comprising of ZICTA and the Police, twenty (20) suspects have been apprehended in connection with the sending of unauthorized electronic messages to members of the public, adding that the messages comprised offers of social cash transfer funds, magic money, mobile money cash reversals and employment opportunities in the civil service.
Mr Mutati noted that the investigations with technical support from ZICTA using a geo locator (live tracking van) indicated that senders of the unsolicited messages were based in Nchelenge, Luapula Province where the twenty suspects were apprehended from in an operation.
The Minister disclosed that all the suspects are aged between 15 and 27 years and are currently detained in police custody after they were transferred to Mansa, Luapula Division Headquarters where they have been charged with several counts of unsolicited electronic messages contrary to section 62 of the cyber security and cyber-crimes act No.2 of 2021.
“Fifteen (15) cellphones with unsolicited messages sent to members of the public have since been recovered and subjected to forensic examination,” he said
Mr Mutati noted with sadness that among the arrested are boys aged 15 and 17years, a clear sign that these fraudsters are recruiting children, and everyone should all rise and fight this growing scourge.
“All male suspects currently in custody in connection with the charges above are, Albert Bwalya aged 23 of Kashkishi area Nchelenge, Mpundu John aged 19 of Kamwangila village, Nchelenge, Male Juvenile aged 15 of Chandwe village, Nchelenge, Male Juvenile aged 15 of Kashkishi area, Nchelenge, Male Juvenile aged 17 of Shijoni village, Nchelenge, Chibwe Mathews aged 27 of Chandwe village, Nchelenge, Jabo Martin of Elyabo village, Nchelenge, Male Juvenile aged 17 of J kamwangila village, Nchelenge, Male Juvenile aged 17 of Mutono village, Nchelenge, Chitambo Dickson aged 18 of Malulu village, Nchelenge, Male Juvenile aged 17 of Mutono village, Nchelenge, Male Juvenile aged 15 of Nkomba area, Nchelenge, Mwansa Charles aged 27 of Nkomba area, Nchelenge, Chanda Evans aged 24 of Kasumpa village, Nchelenge, Kabamba Emmanuel aged 25 of Mutono village, Nchelenge, Kabwe Aaron aged 20 of Kafufuma area, Nchelenge, Nuncho Edward aged 25 of Dustin area, Nchelenge, Musonda Edward aged 22 of Mutono village, Kombe Thomas aged 21 of Kanyangala village, Mpundu John aged 18 of Kanyangala village Nchelenge,” Mr Mutati disclosed
Mr Mutati mentioned that sometime last month, they did put it on record that the days of fraudsters and scammers in this country are numbered, before the law catches up with them regardless of their location, adding that at the time of unveiling of the ZICTA Board a few days ago, his expectations from them were simply to see a ZICTA, that builds a war against cyber-crimes, a war that will lead not only to issuance of many statements on cyber-crimes but to arrests of all criminal elements behind these scams.
Mr Mutati has since called upon members of the public to make effective use of the ZICTA short code *707# whenever they receive unsolicited messages so that more arrests are made.
On 8th October, 2022, the Zambia Information Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) in collaboration with Zambia’s three mobile network operators – MNO officially launched the *707# code, an initiative to protect customers from fraud and mobile scams.
During the launch which took place in Lusaka’s Matero Township, the Mobile Network Operators expressed confidence that this will be an effective tool in combating Fraud, as the *707# code provides a way for people to report numbers for subscribers involved in illegal activity so that the Mobile Network Operators can take action to stop them from defrauding the innocent public.