Some illegal money changers are now duping members of the public of their hard-earned money as their customer base dwindles due to the firming of the street rate as well as the official rate.
A report by The Manica Post says some victims have lost their entire salaries or bank loans in botched transactions involving illegal foreign currency dealers.
The deceitful forex dealers reportedly mainly target people coming from outlying areas to withdraw their monthly salaries in Mutare, Nyanga, Rusape and Chipinge urban areas.
One of the victims of the forex dealers who requested anonymity told The Manica Post that he lost a ZWL$2 million bank loan to a female dealer at Mudzviti Bus Terminus.
The victim said the woman in question insisted that the money transferred had not reached her account, hence she could not give him any US dollars. He said:
This happened on July 20 when I had gone to change my ZWL2 million bank loan into USD. I approached this other lady at Mudzviti Bus Terminus who said she could get me some foreign currency.
She was in possession of a POS machine and we agreed on the rate of the transfer.
After l entered my PIN, she told me that the money had not reached her account. She said it could be hanging, hence she could only give me the USD after the money reflects in her account. Surprisingly, the money in question had already been deducted from my account.
After a heated argument over the issue, she told me to go to my bank and reverse the transaction. When l visited my bank, I was told to bring a letter from the recipient confirming that l should reverse the transaction.
When I went back to Mudzviti Bus Terminus, the lady was nowhere to be found. Up to now, I am still looking for her.
Desire Dube of Chipinge told the publication that he fell victim to a forex dealer early this year. He said:
I was once a victim early this year when I went to Chipinge town to collect my salary. I was told to do a Zipit transaction. I did. After a few minutes, the dealer told me that he had not received the money.
I argued with him for almost an hour, and we later agreed that I should come back after an hour. When I came back, he insisted that he had not received anything.
We spent almost three hours arguing over the issue, and he only gave me part of what I was entitled to and asked me to come back the following day since he was insisting that it was not his problem. That was the last time I saw him.
Tedious Chinyowa, a well-known socialite in Nyamhuka, Nyanga, said he has come across several people who have been duped by forex dealers.
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson in Manicaland Province, Inspector Nobert Muzondo, said they are yet to receive reports from victims of such transactions, but warned the public not to engage in illegal forex deals. He said:
It seems people do not approach the police after falling victim. We urge members of the public who would have fallen victim to approach the police and file reports.
Street money changing is outlawed in Zimbabwe. That’s why the forex dealers always play hide and seek with law enforcement agents.
We will get to the bottom of this issue. We urge members of the public to give us information whenever such things happen so that we bring the perpetrators to book.