More than 1,000 university students and youths seeking jobs have been conned of money or smartphones in bogus online jobs over the last year. These have mainly fallen prey to jobs that are advertised through various social media platforms and posters that are pinned in strategic locations across the university and within the city centre.
Through such scams, 20 girls were conned of a smartphone and 400,000 Shillings each by one Paul Lubanga Lwanga. The victims aged between 18 and 23 years were trailed from areas surrounding taxi parks and educational institutions.
Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Patrick Onyango explained that Lwanga often introduced himself as a proprietor of online companies offering jobs. His victims were convinced by the fact that they did not need to present any academic documents to secure jobs, and all they needed was a skill and start earning from wherever they are.
In order to raise numbers, Lwanga told one of his victims to look for friends so that they can get jobs at ago. Whenever the numbers increased, Lwanga took his victims to a restaurant claiming he was going to demonstrate how they would earn using their smartphones. However, each of them had to pay a fee to be part of the skills training.
The biggest number of victims were conned between April and September especially in the areas of Kampala, Wakiso, Arua, Soroti and Busia, according to figures given by the national anti-human trafficking coordination office under the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Agnes Igoye, who a few weeks ago was appointed as Internal Affairs Attaché in Djibouti, earlier revealed that they had received more than 500 complainants mainly girls who are trafficked to Arua on job promises. These were each conned over 600,000 Shillings by Alliance in Motion Global, a multi-networking and marketing company which has since been red-flagged over fraud and trafficking.
Igoye explained that Alliance in Motion Global sends agents to various places and informs their victims never to share with their parents or relatives the kind of jobs they are doing. Many had been turned into hawkers of fertilizers.
Barbra Faith, one of the victims of Alliance in Motion Global, said she was convinced that she would work as a trainer but upon arriving in Arua, she was turned into a hawker and cautioned against revealing details about her job.
East Kyoga Region Police Spokesperson Gregg Oscar Ageca said that a fortnight ago they arrested leaders of Global Alliance in Soroti after duping more than 30 persons in bogus jobs. Each of the victims, according to Ageca, was hoodwinked to pay between 900,000 and 1.3 million Shillings.
The Soroti job scam suspects include Aziz Simon Enock Edwo from Serere, Atinyi Edward from Mbarara, Emagu William from Kaberamaido and Nakato Fiona Adyeri from Masindi district.
“They had recruited people from Busoga, Lira, Soroti, Pallisa and other places within the Republic of Uganda under the guise of offering them well-paying jobs at a fee. We appeal to the public to be wary of unsolicited promises of Jobs, money and privileges that are not earned,” Ageca said.
Another victim of a job scam, Jonathan Odot, said his mother borrowed 200,000 Shillings after a stranger called that there were job opportunities in Arua. Odot says that he was scared of going back to his mother without the money which she had borrowed for him to get the job.
Police say that in some cases job fraudsters have used very close friends to victims. The friends first get duped and end up becoming part of the racket and then decide to victimize their peers including relatives.
Police officers too have in recent months also fallen victim to online scams. One Mike Mugarura was arrested by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and Crime Intelligence after conning police officers attached to the directorate of forensic science with trips to the US and South Africa he advertised online and later made telephone calls to his targets.
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