Cheap Cement Con! Two Harare Scammers Fleece Over 70 Victims of US$300 000
A cheeky duo identified as Andy Baleni and Tinashe Zimunya have reportedly scammed more than 70 people out of US$300,000 through a non-existent cement buying scheme in Harare. The suspects allegedly committed the crime through a company named Koffie and King Hardware.
The scam was conducted through advertising a promotion in the purchase of cement.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is concerned with fraud cases involving purported sale of cement ‘on special offer’ to unsuspecting members of the public through advertisement on social media and radio stations by a company known as Koffie and King Hardware allegedly situated at 10 Mbuya Nehanda Street, Harare,” said national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi.
The suspects advertised the cement on social media and radio stations at very low prices and alleged special offers, thereby luring the unsuspecting transacting public. “Delivery of the purported cement was said to be done within seven (7) days after payment for the consignment. Resultantly, more than seventy (70) victims fell for the scam and were defrauded approximately USD$300,000,” Nyathi added.
The police have launched a manhunt for the two suspects, who are now on the run. They have appealed for any information that could lead to their arrest. Meanwhile, the public has been urged to exercise due diligence before making any payments, as the scam was also pointing to the possibility of a pyramid scheme through the alleged sale of cement.
According to a victim who spoke on the condition of anonymity,
“I saw their advert on social media and I thought it was too good to be true. But then I convinced myself that it was a genuine offer. I paid US$500 and I was told that I would get my consignment in seven days. After the seventh day, I tried calling them, but their phones were not reachable. I became suspicious and went to their offices only to find that they had vanished with my money.”
The incident is a clear indication that people should be careful when dealing with online advertisements and promotions. As the saying goes, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.