In a heart-wrenching tale of deceit and misfortune, a family in Beitbridge, Zimbabwe, has been left homeless and saddled with a $2,000 (about R40,000) debt after falling victim to a cunning online lotto scam.
Over a decade ago, Taurai Amani, a 71-year-old resident of Dulivhadzimu in Beitbridge, lost part of his house during Operation Restore Order (Murambatsvina).
Left with just two rooms, he dreamt of a bigger home for his children and grandchildren.
In 2019, his dream seemed to come true when his son received a message claiming he had won £1 million from an online competition in the United Kingdom. Unbeknownst to them, it was a scam.
Amani’s son was asked to deposit $2,000 through Western Union to claim his prize.
Desperate and excited, Amani borrowed the money and sent his son to make the payment.
Trouble began when the scammers demanded an additional $1,000.
Suspecting foul play, Amani sought help from the police, only to realise that he had been conned.
The $2,000 borrowed was never repaid, and as he had used his house as collateral, it was seized by the lender.
The Herald reported that last week, the Amani family was evicted from their home based on a court order.
Their dire situation has rallied the community to help.
Boyd Maphosa, a neighbour, expressed their determination to raise the necessary funds, stating, “Our plan is to raise the money within the shortest possible time so that we pay back Mr. Golden (landlord).”
Amani, now distraught, expressed his regrets, saying, “I felt the gods had answered my prayers of owning a bigger house for my family.”
He also urged caution when dealing with online messages.
Alaska Mafuka, a para-legal consultant, advised people to seek legal assistance when entering into agreements and emphasized the importance of due diligence.