Ghetto Artists' UK trip computer scam?

Staff Writer
FRANCISTOWN: Francistown sweethearts Ghetto Artists might have become the latest victims of computer scams that are going on around the world.

Some members of Ghetto Artists were scheduled to fly out to London to attend a conference allegedly at the invitation of the John Major Foundation on January 26, but the meeting was later postponed to March 2 through e-mail, citing terrorist threats.

In the invitation the participants were told that they would be provided with air tickets, local transport within London and food, but they would have to pay for their accommodation. In their first interview with Mmegi, Saone Bikitshane and Katlego Mononyane, who were both supposed to travel to London, said that they had sourced money for accommodation from NACA and DAMSAC.

But Gaborone businessman Richard Harriman of Business & Enterprise Botswana (BES), who read the story, immediately picked on the signs of a scam and notified Mmegi and the Ghetto Artists. 

Harriman says that he found out that he was able to identify the scam because he is from London and there is no John Major Foundation in London. He further said that when he checked where the website was created he found out that there was a link in Lagos and he was able to tell that the website was not in London.

"John Major does not have a foundation," he said.

Harriman said that his first clue was when he read the article in Mmegi and realised that these people were being scammed.

"The London police does not give out terrorist attacks just like that," he added.


also said he noticed because they were being told to pay for their accommodation in advance and that is the standard scam. He said when he realised that they had already paid P18 000 for accommodation and knew immediately that it was a scam.  Their mode of communication also tipped him off because they never talked to them on the phone, it was always by e-mail.

"We have to be skeptical about these things," he said.

The document shows that the website was created on December 9, 2008 and last updated on the same night. There is also a website warning people of fake banks, lotteries and fake companies and the John Major Foundation that was supposed to host Ghetto Artists is listed as one of them. Ghetto Artists outreach programme manager, Katlego Mononyane, says that they have not had any doubts about the invitation and they expect to leave for London on February 25 to attend the conference from March 2 to March 12.

"We are still waiting for our accommodation confirmation," she says. She says that they have in fact talked to their hosts.

In the first invitation, it said that some of the people who would be officiating at the conference would be former United States (US) president, Bill Clinton, former British premier Sir John Major, Scottish minister Andy Kerr, Dr Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and many other eminent personalities.



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