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Fake driver's licence syndicate on the prowl

by Staff reporter
05 Mar 2023 at 06:21hrs | Views
A syndicate of fake driver's licence fraudsters claiming to be working for and with Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) officials are on the prowl and are using digital platforms to dupe people of money ranging from US$250 to US$350 for the production of a driver's licence.

Police have warned citizens and would-be vehicle licence holders to be wary of the syndicate, saying people should follow the proper way of getting driver's licences. The syndicate which is  operating on social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook advertises its services and provides contact details of the go-to person. The syndicate say they can facilitate the processing of a learner's licence, vehicle licences from classes one to four, re-tests, medicals, and international drivers' permits.

"Too busy working or you have failed over and over again, the provisional writing or road test and you have given up. Serious VID backdoor deals," reads part of the advert.

The licences range from US$250 to US$350 depending on the class one needs. A Sunday News reporter posed as a potential customer for a Class Four driver's licence and contacted a man who said he could process the document from Harare Eastlea Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) depot. The agent said he wanted US$200 for the metal licence disc and certificate of competence to be processed and delivered to Bulawayo.

The reporter asked about how she would do the standard procedure of being tested physically at the depot and going through all the required procedures, and the agent said it was not necessary as the licence would be delivered without undergoing any of the processes. As a way of inducing this reporter further, the agent went on to send a copy of a blank certificate of competence that he was going to fill in and send as soon as payment was made.

"If ready I need this (sic) details. Picture of ID, a passport-sized photo, picture of your signature," he said in a WhatsApp message.

After the conversation, the agent who seemed desperate made a telephone call a day later asking when he would get paid and requested that it be sent so that ‘"processing" could start, which the reporter promised to send via a local mobile money platform.

Undeterred, on the fifth day following the commencement of the conversation, the agent requested a down payment of US$60 so that he could process the licence and requested the personal details of the reporter while awaiting the funds. The agent said the licence would be delivered after the total amount was sent to him and seemed annoyed that the reporter was taking time to send the processing fee.

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the fraudsters were on the prowl and warned the public against engaging in illegal acquisition of such documents.

"These are fraudsters that need to be brought to book and we want people with information regarding these people to come forward and assist with any information so that they may face the law," he said.

Asst Comm Nyathi said the public must also be on high alert and not respond to social media adverts of this nature.

"The public should not respond to social media adverts of such nature, they must not partake in these illegal and criminal activities, instead they must assist the police to locate such criminals," he said.

He submitted that people who acquire fake driver's licences were among those causing carnage on the country's roads.

"People who are buying fake licences from fraudsters like those operating on social media are the reasons why there are many accidents on the roads. These untrained drivers do not know road rules and they don't respect them. They have no regard for the safety of other road users," said Asst Comm Nyathi.

Source - The Sunday News