Moshi. Tour operators and tourists in Kilimanjaro and Arusha regions are falling prey to cybercrime, and most of them have already lost millions of US dollars in the crime.
Criminals using the Internet have intercepted emails belonging to tourist agents where in the past two months more 10 tour operating companies have been targeted. The criminals have managed, through emails, to direct tourists to pay their fees through Western Union to people who are not in the tourism industry in order to visit Tanzania.
Investigations by The Citizen have revealed tens of hundreds of US dollars have been sent to criminals through different financial institutions in Kampala (Uganda), Moshi and Dar es Salaam.
On August 25, this year, the criminals succeeded to intercept an email communication involving a tour company in Moshi and made away with $3,500 (about Sh7,000,000) paid in advance by a foreign tourist.
“We communicated with our client abroad and he asked us to furnish him with some details on payments by email when we gave him the details we could not get his response,” said the director of the firm who declined to give his name for investigative and security reasons.
“I was shocked when I learned that my inbox had a new mail directing my client to deposit the money in an account which was not mine,” he said.
According to the director, they tried to get in touch with the tourist abroad but when they finally got him he had already deposited the money in another account.
Police dealing with cybercrime have launched investigations into the matter starting with a bank that was involved in the crime.
The director of King of Kilimanjaro Expedition, Mr Shatiel Mhina, said a few days ago the criminals intercepted his email address and managed to steal $6,000 (about Sh12,000,000).
“I realised that they have stolen the money at the Kilimanjaro International Airport where I went to receive my client from abroad. The client asked me whether I had received payment of $6,000,” said Mr Mhina.
“When I opened my email I found an e-mail directing the client to deposit the cash in an account and name which was not mine. It’s then that I realised the criminals had played dirty games with me,” he said.