SOME residents in Mutare have fallen prey to cunning fake money peddlers who have offloaded thousands of dollars in counterfeit notes in recent weeks, targeting mostly Ecocash agents and informal businesses.
Denominations that are circulating include $20, $50 and $100 notes.
The crooks, who appear as genuine clients, suspiciously spend big, buying large groceries as well as transferring hundreds of dollars using Ecocash.
Manicaland police spokesman inspector Enock Chishiri said the con-artists have hit several businesses.
Cases are being reported daily.
At service stations, they fill up their vehicles before leaving the fuel attendant with worthless notes.
He warned people, particularly vendors, fuel attendants and Eco-Cash agents to buy money detectors to avoid falling prey to the daring crooks.
“It is a worrying practice that is on the increase but we continue to urge people to be vigilant and knowledgeable of features on the genuine notes.
“We will continue to arrest anyone who will be found on the wrong side of the law and they will be charged with fraud,” he said.
Recently, one con-artist who is still at large duped an Eco-Cash agent in the city and supplied four fake $100 notes. The money was wired into his mobile phone and he vanished.
The Manica Post got hold of one of the fake $100 notes which looked genuine at face value.
A money detector failed to detect the note’s fakeness but a scrutiny of other security features showed that it was fake.
Security features that are suspicious on the fake note include the security fibres, 3D Security ribbon, optically variable ink, micro and raised printing and EURion constellation.
Spar Mutare general manager Tawanda Mukapa said some shoppers occasionally came and attempted to buy using fake notes.
“Yes, some customers do come with fake notes and attempt to buy with them.
“Most of them, however, admit that they would have been duped somewhere else,” he said.
Last year, five men and a woman appeared before a Mutare magistrate facing fraud charges after they used fake money to buy goods from various shops in Penhalonga.
The six, Tendai Mureremba (30), Fidelis Kasecha (27), Duncan Mukwanda (16), Talent Milanzi (20), Clement Chaziromunu (27) and Abigail Gwizo (24), pleaded guilty of the offence when they appeared before Mrs Sekai Chiundura.
Source: Manica Post