THE Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) has reported that around VT 9 million was sent to conmen overseas in the first quarter of 2017.
Jackson Miake, ICT Program Manager OGCIO, said in the first six months of last year up to July they had seen approximately up to VT 9million that people have sent overseas to criminals. He said information is still being collected on the second quarter.
Mr Miake said although a lot of awareness on cybercrime has been done, people around Vanuatu and Port Vila still don’t get the messages.
“In the case of fraud and phishing, there are many still happening in Vanuatu where people outside are asking money and Vanuatu people are giving it to them,” he said.
“The criminals are using a technique known as phishing, where they ask people for money or to partner with them to start a business.”
He said that these criminals are smart and they use Western Union because it is difficult for people to verify or cross-check with the identities of people who are sending and receiving money. These are small amounts, probably targeting VT 20- 30,000 from each person.
“But if the criminal targets many people, say 300, then you can see that this are huge amount of money that this conman can ask from people.”
Financial Intelligence Unit Director, Floyd Ray Mera, said some of these cases are currently in court and some of them have just been identified and are in the process of prosecution to register their cases. These cases involved particularly people’s bank accounts where money was stolen from their accounts.
Mr Mera said with these cases in court, they only judge the people who facilitated the process of the money being sent overseas, as those who are enjoying the money now who are the criminals but they don’t know where they are.
“People must realize that Vanuatu is just a small part of it; the money is moved to Asia, it then gets out of Asia within hours to Europe and then it could flow to somewhere else again. Therefore it is quite costly for FIU to follow through all processes. When it gets out from our time zone, we must accept that it’s gone,” he said.
Mr Miake said they have figures of cyber-crimes and these things continue to happen.
“We hope that through this awareness people will become more aware and be able to identify to not put out too much information about themselves online. Information such as mobile numbers and other personal information such as where you are going and what you are doing and where you are.
“Before you do anything just be mindful that your information and every small detail is important. And if you really care about yourself there’s no need to put up information like that online. This is because criminals can use this to attack you again,” he said.
Meanwhile to target this internet issue in Vanuatu, Mr Miake said they have been working on a cybercrime bill since 2011.
“We are working closely with the Police, the regulators office (TRR) and the State Law and other law enforcement agencies to develop this bill.
“The bill was supposed to pass through parliament last year but there have been some technical issues around the consultation and we hope that this year we will work with the Minister responsible who is the Prime Minister to deliberate on the bill and hopefully we can pass it in parliament.”
He said the Cybercrime Bill aims to put some guidelines to help users to ensure that when they go online they are safe.
Mr Miake said the bill will tackle issues such as pornography, child abuse using internet, computer fraud, cyber stocking, cyber bullying and defamation online.
IB FRAUD 2017 & 2018 STATISTICS
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