Fraudulent business schemes are commonplace in any country & prevalence is exacerbated by poor economic conditions. This holds true especially here in Zimbabwe where lots of people are struggling to make ends meet. Mostly desperation and the pursuance of shortcuts set people up for scams. Scammers prey on potential targets by capitalizing on those variables. As much as the police are supposed to cushion people from scams, in the majority of accounts victims’ cases aren’t properly dealt with. The other deficiency on the part of the police is poor reporting on alerting the public of common scams from time to time. Here are a few accounts of real life scams that have occurred locally:

Facebook Page Cellphone Ad Costs A Victim

Sometime towards end of last year there was an ad placement for a Samsung J3 on a certain Facebook page. Then an interested individual reached out to the page owner and was asked to do a bank transfer of $240 into the account of the owner. The victim was to do this on the pretext that the phone would be delivered within a day through DHL upon full payment. The victim gladly complied and made the transfer on the 20th of November & went to DHL the following day. Upon inquiry at DHL they were told that no such delivery had been received. Obviously disturbed, the victim reached out to the page owner to make sense as to why the phone hadn’t arrived. The victim’s attempts to make that query turned futile as the culprit ignored them & immediately blocked them.

Lessons To Learn

The online credibility of some businesses on social media is highly questionable. Thus, you should never make online purchases without doing due diligence or physical interaction with the product & the provider (especially on Facebook). The other general lesson is to never make full payment without having received & ascertained the product is real.

Fake Sales Prospects

The victim had their first interaction with the culprits (supposedly a couple) on the 17th of December in 2017. The victim (someone I actually know) was & is still operating an electronics consumables shop. The culprits acquired electronic goods worth $1100 from the shop on an agreement that they would pay within 3 months. The victim then did follow-ups on the debt initially through communication with the female culprit. The female later on blocked the victim who then started following up with the male who also blocked them. The victim reported the matter to the police but was, for unclear reasons, given a very cold shoulder. Currently whereabouts of the culprits aren’t known yet interestingly it is said they roam around freely.

Lessons To Learn

When entering into sales agreements it’s wise to have signed agreements, better off to actually seek legal counsel. This will definitely make a culprit chicken out on the thought of possible conviction if they default. Another thing is to ensure you do due diligence before finalizing sales agreements (background checks, residential, contact details etc should be thoroughly substantiated beforehand). When entering into a deal that involves payment by instalments, there must be a substantial down payment made prior to getting the goods. For what it’s worth it’s rather wiser that the goods should only be dispatched upon full payment.

Botched Car Sale Deal

The victim entered into a deal with the culprit who was supposed to import a car for them. They had both had a previous similar deal that had gone well the preceding year. The victim made money transfers into the culprit’s two accounts, one in a Southern African country & the other in an Asian country. Up to this day, the car was not delivered despite the culprit having sent pictures that indicated the car was now in Beitbridge. The victim is also still owed $19000 pertaining to certain terms they had agreed on. The communication between the victim and culprit is still there but the culprit (who is outside the country) is continuously giving a bunch of excuses.

Lessons To Learn

Whenever you want to import or locally purchase a car, don’t deal with unregistered agents or dealerships. The aspect of background checks again is very important; in this case the culprit was a prior offender. That is something the victim would have noted as a red flag had they done a background check.


In June last year, the victim saw on Facebook someone posing as a DSTV agent. The “agent” said they could activate DSTV accounts upon reception of Ecocash payments. With Multi-choice normally requiring cash payments, the victim was delighted by the convenience. Therefore the victim acquiesced to the offer and sent $55 to the culprit’s Ecocash number. When the victim started to follow up, they were ignored and nothing ever materialized.

Lessons To Learn

As I earlier on indicated, always be sceptical when dealing with offers you see on Facebook. Especially in scenarios where the brand in question is a big brand, you’ll do well by confirming with them first. That would have been an expedient due diligence that could have saved this victim from losing money like that.

Fake Loans

Victim saw loan offers on a Facebook page and contacted the culprit who was posing as a loan officer. They were taken through a series of steps & were asked to pay application fees that amounted to $215. Months down the line, no loan ever got into the victim’s hands despite having been assured they would receive the money within a week. 

Lessons To Learn

Proper due diligence again is the key. In this case the “loan officer” was posting on Facebook from Harare yet they told the victim that their offices were in Victoria Falls. That was supposed to have been fishy to the victim plus don’t part with money based on non-physical interactions with strangers.

Be sure to check and their facebook Page: Busting Shady Businesses And Scams In Zimbabwe. There are more detailed accounts of scams in Zimbabwe that occur from time to time there.