The Zimbabwean Embassy in South Africa and its consulates in Cape Town and Johannesburg has warned Zimbabweans living in the neighbouring country to be wary of fraudsters pretending to be employees or agents of the Registrar General’s Office.
The fraudsters are allegedly using social media platforms with fake websites, Facebook pages and WhatApp numbers that seem to be genuine in order to steal money from people who want to apply for the recently introduced electronic passport (e-passport).
They (the fraudsters) claim they can facilitate the issuance of passports, IDs, birth certificates and other national documents. Most of them reportedly charge at least US$200 for their “services”.
Some of the platforms being used by the fraudsters are known as Makombe Passport Official Facebook page, Zimbabwe Passport and ZSP Permit Renewal Facebook page, Express E-Passports for Zimbabweans Abroad Facebook page, 24Hr Zimbabwe E-Passports Facebook Page, WhatsApp number +263781279790, Zim Passport in SA Facebook page and Zim Passport Online Facebook page.
Others are https//zimpassports.online/index.html: firstname.lastname@example.org, landline +263 242 792751, Capitec Bank, Account number 1653729757.
Meanwhile, in an advisory note, the Zimbabwean Embassy in South Africa and its consulates in Cape Town and Johannesburg said the people using the platforms are bogus. Part of the statement read:
It has come to the attention of the Consulate that there are adverts circulating on various social media platforms, originating from unknown scammers and fraudsters purporting to be employees and or agents of the Zimbabwe Government’s Civil Registry Department, falsely promising online facilitation of the e-passport and other national identity documents such as IDs, birth certificates, drivers licences.
The Consulate wishes to categorically state that these bogus individuals and platforms, including anyone claiming to provide online Zimbabwe documents application, DO NOT represent the Zimbabwe Government’s Civil Registry Department or Embassies and Consulates.
As such, our revered nationals should dismiss these fraudsters with the contempt they deserve.
The officiaals assured diasporans that the old passports remain in use until their expiry date adding that the new e-passport applications can only be done in person at the Civil Registry Department in Zimbabwe. Read the statement:
The old machine-readable passports remain in use until their expiry date. The introduction of the e-passport does not in any way affect the validity of already issued machine-readable passports. New e-passport applications can only be done in person at the Civil Registry Department in Zimbabwe.
The Consulate will continue to process applications for machine-readable (old) passports using the old system until further notice. A separate public notice will be issued once the mission is ready to migrate to the new application system.
The official Government communication channels include the following: the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage (Twitter handle: @Moha_Zim, contact details on +263 242 702 295-9 and +263 242 708 384) and the Zimbabwe Consulate Cape Town (+27 21 461 1994-5; +27 84 829 0441; +27 84790 9230 or Email; email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Other official sites, addresses and numbers are the Zimbabwe Consulate: Johannesburg (Facebook Page: Zimbabweconsulate Boeing Road Bedfordview; Twitter handle: @Zimbabweconsulatejhb; WhatsApp +27 82 82 49435, Phone +27 11 615 5879 or +27 11 037 3400; Email email@example.com or website www.zimbabweconsulate.co.za.