On Sunday, top police officials cautioned the general public against cyber crime and human trafficking, indicating that, many a time, criminals exploit the ignorance of their victims, sometimes with false monetary promises.
The officials went on to cite examples where unsuspecting people have been lured into investment scams through the internet, while others have been trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation.
Whereas the country has seen a general decline in crime in the recent past, human traffickers and cyber criminals may take advantage of relaxed border controls, as a result of deepening regional economic integration. Similarly, drug traffickers are also likely to seek to exploit the free movement of people across the borders to carry out their illegal business.
And, with increasing numbers of Rwandans, including children, accessing the internet, chances are that more people will be exposed to high tech fraud. After making promises that look too good to be true, normally through internet junk mails, cyber criminals often defraud their victims, with little chance of being tracked, since they hide behind several pseudonyms, and will likely discontinue communication. Some go as far as withdrawing money on the victims’ bank accounts once they get to know about your account credentials.
Yet, cyber crime should not discourage people from using the internet. Instead, users should employ basic computer and email security practices, and avoid recklessly revealing or exposing sensitive personal information, such as passwords and account details. Parents and school administrators, in particular, should explain to children about their vulnerability to cyber fraud, and advise them on how to minimize chances of becoming a victim.
The same vigilance is needed in the fight against human trafficking.
Law enforcement organs, too, need to develop capacity that will help them deal with these crimes.