Public Warned as Police Break Networks of Identity Thieves

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Police has called on the public to be cautious with whom they give their particulars including national IDs, smart cards and land titles as they may be duplicated and used in illegal acquisition or sale of properties, among others.

This comes after police unearthed networks of conmen that were duplicating several identifications to sell off other people’s properties.

According to the Rwanda National Police Spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Theos Badege, Police has recorded six cases of identity theft in the last three months.

So far, the law enforcers have arrested ten people in an ongoing investigations and managed to block several rip-off of properties.

The suspects target owners of land that have for not long not been used or rent houses and claim they are the rightful owners with an intention to steal the identities of the rightful owner and later sell off the house.

The police publicist went on to give an example of how the suspects run the scam and referred to a recent case in Kicukiro District of six people including a woman.

The woman poses as a wife to one of the suspects; the couple claims to be the true owners of the property on sale.

The other three pose as witness to the sale while the sixth person acts as a broker.

Police says that the suspects usually target properties (land) that are up for sell or been long undeveloped.

 “We got information that people we have been interested in concerning these files are about sale a plot, we immediately sent in our detectives who eventually arrested them,” said ACP Badege.

The suspects were also found in possession of several fake land titles and other documents.

“They duplicate land titles with identical (UPI) unique parcel identifier numbers that exactly correspond with existing features on the genuine land titles,” he said.

Unique Parcel Identifier (UPI) is a method of identifying land parcel locations based on unique code that consists of district, sector, village or section and lot number, no such number can appear twice.

ACP Badege further said that the suspects counterfeit everything required to complete the transaction, ranging from fake identity cards

On the fake ID, the suspects retain the rightful particulars but swap the passport photos.

ACP Badege said that in the last three months, police have registered about six familiar cases related to fraudulent property sells and appealed to the public to be vigilant and report suspicious property sellers. He went on to urge property owners to jealously guard details of their property documents and other valuable possessions from unscrupulous individuals.

He also said that Police is actively investigating whether several other collaborators in the fraudulent transactions.

“These cases are under active investigation and are at a tail end,” he promised.

The police publicist was however, cagey on names of suspects and some victims saying that this would jeopardise investigations.

‘We take serious exceptions to such crimes we’re hopeful that our investigations will sustain prosecution of such persons hope you will see them in court’ said ACP Badege.

He urged property buyers to always ascertain authenticity documents presented to them by cross-check with relevant public offices.

The suspects risk being charged with fraudulent use of payment system, forging or alteration of documents and use of counterfeited document as stipulated in articles 318, 323, 609, 610 of the penal code

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