Fiscal and Fraud Department uncovers new fraud techniques

The Fiscal and Fraud Department, a wing in the Malawi Police, says its performance in 2016 was a success unearthing new trends of fraud.

Responding to a Malawi News Agency (MANA) questionnaire on Monday, the head of the Fiscal and Fraud Department, Yacks Bonongwe, said the department investigated 196 fraud cases and 112 exchange control issues in the year 2016.

In the year 2016, we investigated 196 fraud cases and 112 exchange control issues and we have managed to successfully deal with 90% of these and only 10% has spilled over to the year 2017, he said.

Bonongwe said that apart from the usual and simple fraud cases of; theft, forgery and false accounting, the department came across new trends of fraud.

He said the new trends of fraud that the department came across in the year 2016 include cheque duplication in which two cheques (original and duplicate) are issued to the same payee, with the same value and date.

Usually, the duplicate or fraudulent cheque passes through the bank first before the original cheque. The issuer will be able to confirm the duplicate cheque with the bank not knowing that it is fraudulent. The time the original cheque reaches the bank, the duplicate cheque will have been paid out already, Bonongwe explained.

Sim card swapping, also known as network tapping or Sim card replacement is also another new trend of fraud that the department came across in the year 2016.

Bonongwe pointed out that sim card swapping is a situation where fraudsters would have full bank details of an account holder like signature specimen, contact number, account number and account balance.

The fraudsters then make a Sim card replacement so that when the bank tries to confirm a transaction it will be the fraudsters themselves making the confirmation. This can either be a transfer of funds to an account or withdraw of money from the account.

Multiple sale of land or property is also another new trend of fraud that the department has aslo come across in 2016. ”We have seen land or property being fraudulently sold to two or more people without the knowledge of the buyers.Later the seller disappears and all the documents that he was using may seem to be valid and original, He said.

Asked on how the department is anticipating its performance in the year 2017, Bonongwe said they anticipate the best performance since the department still maintains its dedicated team in addition to the timely support and cooperation that it gets from both the private and public sector.

The Fiscal and Fraud Section of the Malawi Police Service is mandated to investigate all fraud cases and all violations of exchange control regulations.

Source: Malawi News Agency � MANA