We have had two recent emails about similar incidents of internet fraud whilst transferring money to Uganda.
One of the victims has asked us to publicise what happened to him as a warning to other travellers.
“We arranged our trip with an operator recommended in your guidebook. I had a lengthy email correspondence with the company’s owner a year ago and agreed an itinerary. I then received, from exactly the same email address, his bank details, and I made 2 bank transfers totalling $7000 as instructed. I received a receipt on the company’s headed notepaper, and further emails purporting to be from the owner. But in fact the emails had been intercepted, the bank details were false, and the money was stolen.
I visited the Ugandan police who told me that this has happened to other travel companies recently, and was due to malware infecting the internet in Uganda, originating from internet cafes in Kampala. The fraudsters monitor email traffic, searching for words such as “money transfer”. They can then divert and re-write emails so they appear to come from an authentic source. The police have made arrests, and are pursuing my case, but realistically I am not expecting to retrieve my money.
I would not wish you to damage the reputation of the company listed in your guidebook, as they had no part in the scam. However a general warning about money transfers might be advisable i.e that any bank details supplied by email should be double checked through a second medium, such as fax, phone or facebook.