Hawa ni Wahalifu wa Kenya tu International cellphone scam traced to Tanzania THISDAY REPORTER AND AGENCIES DAR ES SALAAM An International mobile phone fraud where customers in various countries have been receiving hoax text messages has been traced back to Tanzania. In Fiji, mobile phone operator Vodafone has already warned its customers about the hoax SMS originating from Tanzania. Vodafone Fiji Corporate Affairs Manager Shailendra Prasad said the message has been traced to a cellphone number in Dar es Salaam. The anonymous sender of the text messages dupes people into believing they have won a prize and directs them to call a Kenya-listed number, where another network of people asks unsuspecting customers to send money before they receive the fictitious prize. The message reads: �Surprises Awards� Japan Africa Motor Show: You are a lucky winner of a Toyota Prado: Through mobile gobble Internet. Call Collins Horns +254722596663 for more details�. Prasad said they have now blocked the particular cellphone number (+255-765-994-516) from sending any more text messages to the Vodafone Fiji network. THISDAY attempted to call the number which is registered under local mobile phone company Vodacom, but it was permanently not reachable. But according to Prasad: �The sender could still use other mobile phone numbers to send the same text message. We would like to advise our customers that the text message is a hoax with an intention to defraud the subscriber.� He said the communication using the Vodafone platform is not subjected to any screening because of the statutory requirement to provide complete confidentiality and privacy on all subscriber communications. Any interference would be a breach and invasion of consumer privacy, he pointed out. Prasad said there were two ways by which mobile phone numbers could have leaked out. �It is common knowledge that Vodafone mobile numbers in Fiji start with number '9' and have seven digits in total. Therefore, if someone picked a seven digit number starting with number '9', they most likely are able to pick a correct mobile number to send the text message. We suspect that this is what is happening in this case,� he said. He said there are many bogus websites on the Internet that require registration details including contact details, and if in any instance a customer has registered his/her mobile number as part of email registration, it could be another potential source of information for the scam operators. Meanwhile, the Deputy Director of Criminal Investigations, Commissioner of Police Peter Kivuyo, warned Tanzanians against falling victim to the mobile phone scam. �We are cooperating with Interpol and we hope they will give us more details concerning the scam, and the person(s) involved will immediately be arrested,� Kivuyo told THISDAY in an interview. He said the police will also contact the local mobile phone operator whose subscriber has been sending the hoax text messages, to try to get more details. Kivuyo said local police have already encountered similar cases both within and outside the country. He revealed that a number of people are currently being questioned by police on suspicion of sending hoax mobile phone messages in other unrelated cases.