$3.1 million loss caused by E-bay shop scams, impersonation to obtain financial advantage, and bitcoin crypto-currency
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Cooperatives, Manoa Kamikamica says the total value of losses from fraudulent cases like the E-bay shop scams, impersonation to obtain financial advantage, and bitcoin crypto-currency is $3.1 million.
Kamikamica highlighted this in response to Assistant Minister, Tomasi Tunabuna’s question in parliament on the update of the establishment of a taskforce on online fraudulent activities and its plans.
Kamikamica says the scam taskforce was established this year by the Government in response to quite significant and concerning fraudulent activities happening in the country.
He says the Fiji Police Force has also established a task force in each division to ascertain the severity of the matter.
He also says the Ministry of Trade, the Police, the Online Safety Commission, the Reserve Bank of Fiji, the Consumer Council and FCCC are collaborating to enable comprehensive investigations to proceed.
He says the task force has received 1,859 complaints as at 31st October 2023, and some people have been taken in for questioning, and they are waiting for an outcome soon.
He attributed this to the rising technologies and the rise of e-commerce platforms that has been misused as it is still new and not fully utilised in Fiji and the Pacific countries, hence they are not fully regulated.
Kamikamica says M-PAiSA and MyCash are becoming more popular tools for cashless payments and money transfers, and there is a need to review existing regulations and identify gaps to safeguard consumer protection, which is one of the Ministry’s and the Coalition Government’s priorities.
He adds that the taskforce assesses, reviews, and monitors online fraudulent activities, both locally and abroad, ensuring there are no money leakages offshore. Kamikamica says during the taskforce meetings, they have invited Vodafone and Digicel to seek their support to nurture and create awareness of the ongoing scams involving e-wallets and most importantly, to hear about their activities in providing more secure platforms, programs, and initiatives to create more awareness on scams.
He adds the Reserve Bank of Fiji and the Consumer Council are collaborating with a digital solutions provider to provide a pro-active approach to awareness and educating the public on online scams.
Kamikamica urges the public to practice financial awareness when coming across such schemes and prevent themselves from falling victim to these kinds of ventures.