Online loan scammers masquerading as World Bank agents on the prowl


By Alois Vinga


A FALSE online scam attracting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and involving bogus International Finance Corporation (IFC) and World Bank (WB) agents hit Zimbabwe with unsuspecting businessmen risking parting with their hard-earned money.

Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com Business on Wednesday, Cheryl Khupe, the World Bank’s communications officer in Zimbabwe, said the crooks have opened several websites and online platforms where they are encouraging SMEs to take out the alleged loans on offer.

“We do not yet know whether these crooks are Zimbabweans or foreigners and currently no one has come to report details of the prey of these activities,” she said.

One of the fake Facebook pages created masquerades as Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, stating: “World Bank frustrated by low use of Covid-19 fund: the way in May. The fund was intended to protect small businesses from shocks caused by the pandemic, but most Zimbabweans were reluctant to apply. Those who wish to apply for the fund can do so through the IFC website, ”part of the post read.

However, in a joint statement released earlier, the IFC and WBG revealed that in recent weeks they have been subjected to cybercrime attacks from unknown individuals and entities.

The authors created a series of fake websites, emails, loan application forms and URLs masquerading as IFC in Zimbabwe, including https://www.ifcbusiness.org/, and https://www.ifcbusiness.org/sme-loans.

The online scam seeks to trick Zimbabwe entrepreneurs and small businesses into applying for ‘IFC loans’ by downloading and filling out the application forms available on this bogus website: https://www.ifcbusiness.org/sme-loans.

“IFC has no involvement in these bogus websites or the call for nominations. We caution the public to be wary of these and other similar associations that falsely claim to be associated with IFC or other members of the World Bank Group, ”the statement added.


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