Inmates are perpetrating scams by posting adverts of vehicles, houses, livestock, farms, television sets and furniture for sale on social media, using mobile phones to con victims into depositing huge amounts of money.
During an interview with New Era this week, Commissioner Sam Shaalulange of the Namibia Correctional Service said his office has been receiving reports that some inmates are scamming people, some of whom lost their money, thinking they have purchased these items – only later find out that the items do not exist.
“My office received a report of someone who got scammed of N$14 000 when they bought home items like televisions and beds from an inmate,” he stated.
The commissioner said inmates send their victims pictures of items they claim they are selling.
Shaalulange said these criminal activities are often perpetrated with the assistance of people from outside, such as their friends or relatives.
“Inmates have adverts posted of cars or houses made by people who are not in jail. Those adverts are then sent to the inmates so that they post on social media with their numbers on, indicating that they are selling cars or houses at a cheaper price,” said Shaalulange.
He said, items posted by inmates on social media are always cheap, as their main aim is to attract people and for them to just get money.
Shaalulange stated that when an inmate receives money from the victim, they immediately send it to those they work with.
“Inmates have fake papers containing all kinds of information of items they are selling, including a car or a house. They send those papers to those wanting to buy as proof of ownership,” he said.
Shaalulange said the public must be cautious when buying items advertised on social media, as some items do not exist.
He emphasised that a case will be opened against every inmate caught scamming people by falsely selling things as well as the accomplices.
Shaalulange said people should refrain from sending money to pay or to deposit for the items which they have not seen and from people who they have never met.
“People must stop sneaking phones in for inmates as cell phones are now being used for theft,” he said.