Cyber crime cost Rwanda economy Rwf6bn in 2018

Officials at the meeting with residents of City of Kigali on Tuesday. Courtesy.

Cyber fraud caused an economic loss to the country amounting to Rwf6 billion last year  alone, Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) has said.

Jeannot Ruhunga, the Secretary General of Rwanda Investigation Bureau, said that at least 113 cases of cybercrime, of which 64 were committed in the City of Kigali, were recorded in 2018 leaving many counting losses.

This means that recorded cases more than doubled in one year. In 2017,  47 cases – of which 40 were committed in Kigali – were recorded involving about Rwf400 million. 

“Cybercrimes are committed using technology such as computer, internet, telephone and any other type of information technology tools. Some criminals will promise you that you have won some cash prize and then ask for your personal identification, mobile money PIN code or bank account, which information they use to steal your money,” Ruhunga told City of Kigali residents on Tuesday. 

He was speaking during a meeting with city residents aimed at sensitising them on the most prevalent crimes committed in the Rwandan capital and how they can prevent them.

Ruhunga called for more vigilance, urging members of the public to always double check information they get from strange callers.

He called on people to check with telecom telecom companies to establish which phone numbers are registered under their names, saying that fraudsters often use phone numbers registered under other people to commit cybercrimes.

Other crimes prevalent in urban areas include impersonation, with conmen masquerading as officials and steal money from unsuspicious victims with promise to get them jobs.

The RIB boss also said there are cases where conmen lie to unsuspecting potential victims that a family member was hospitalised and they need to urgently send money for medical attention, while some people have spent their money on fake minerals. 

Others fraudsters also sell counterfeit titles and sell properties that are not theirs.

“There are others who will feed you lies that your family member is in danger and will ask you to send money to support them or may be pay a hospital bill. We have also experienced those who pledge to sell minerals at cheap prices and end up taking your money,” he said.

He added that some counterfeit land titles and sell the properties that are not theirs.

In 2018, he said, the Bureau recorded 741 cases of fraud and deceit from across the country, 381 of which were committed in Kigali and involving some Rwf1.2 billion. The crimes in this category increased almost two-fold from 464 cases that were recorded in 2017.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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