Wednesday 15 October 2008

Letter to Mmegi regarding scams

Many people will have seen a leaflet that is being given out at traffic lights in Gaborone at the moment.  It resembles a US bank note and says "Want to earn more money part time or earn a FORTUNE full time?  Earn in US Dollars."  The reverse of the note says "The best money opportunity awaits you".  It then gives two Botswana-based cellphone numbers, one South African and a Hotmail email address.

Consumers should just throw these leaflets away and not waste their time responding to them.  This type of scam is widely used around the world and is actually quite similar to the Nigerian 419 or "advance fee" scams that anyone with an email address has seen.  At some point the unsuspecting consumer will be required to pay these scammers a membership or joining fee.  That's how they earn their money.

We consumers should be more skeptical.  We should ask ourselves why a total stranger would offer us an opportunity to make a fortune rather than doing so himself?  Why on earth would a total stranger try and recruit people at traffic lights?  Why would a legitimate business operate from a Hotmail address?

I urge consumers to do the sensible thing.  Throw these leaflets away and do not get suckered into parting with your cash.  The old saying is a good one.  If something seems too good to be true then it certainly IS too good to be true.

Richard Harriman
Consumer Watchdog

No comments: