We carry an article in this publication about a retired woman who fell prey to scammers who made away with her life savings amounting to P228, 000.
This follows on the heels of a story of another elderly woman who also lost half a million to tricksters, possibly the same people, as both women were approached by the fake prophets, in Ramotswa. It is quite easy to point accusing fingers at the victims and call them all sorts of names, but the truth be told these scammers are smooth operators, and they know how to lure their targets into believing everything that comes out of their mouths.
These two elderly victims should be commended, because sharing their experiences will definitely help many avoid falling into the same trap. These scammers have been operating across the country since time immemorial, but amazingly, it is very rare for them to get caught, and if they do get caught, they spend little time in jail before they are released. The sentences, they usually get is such a slap in the wrist, so much that after being released from jail, they go back to terrorising law abiding citizens by stealing their hard earned cash.
We as a nation need to stand together and fight this evil, we have to intensify educational campaigns, lobby the government to review the sentence given to scammers. These scammers are so heartless, as evidence, by targeting retirees, who most likely will not get an opportunity to work and raise more money. One of the red flags about these scammers, who pose as prophets, is that they often tell their victims that they should not tell anyone, including their family members. One then, should wonder, what kind of praying would encourage keeping one’s family members? That request should indeed be the first warning sign.
The truth is that these scammers are fearful, that should their intended target share the story with family members, they will obviously dissuade them from going ahead with the plan, or make them realise that it is a scam.
The civil society needs to stand together and lobby the government to intensify the sentencing of those found guilty of obtaining by false pretences or scamming people.
We cannot continue to have people who have made a choice to terrorise others and rob them of their hard earned monies, roaming the streets as if they own them. Let’s take back what belongs to us, and return Botswana to its peaceful days, when people did not live in fear of thugs, stealing their belongings and possibly injuring or killing them in the process. We implore government to give stiffer sentences to scammers. Let’s clean our streets.