A wave of scams has hit Harare, with several house seekers falling victim to a fake landlord known as FinePapi, identified as Douglas Victor Zvogbo, a popular social media celebrity on TikTok. The issue sheds light on the pervasive problem of scammers preying on the desperation of individuals in search of housing.
One resident from Harare shared his ordeal, expressing deep regret and frustration. “Makazen, ndirikunzwa kurwadziwa nezvandaitwa na bhangu ava,” he narrated. The alleged scam involved an apartment in the Avenues, advertised for rental from December 1. The victim met with FinePapi for a viewing, paid the deposit in early November, and handed over the remaining balance of $450 about three weeks later.
The location of the scam was a property on 56 Central Avenue. The victim paid a total of $900, expecting to receive the keys on December 1. However, when attempts to contact FinePapi on the agreed date failed, suspicions arose.
Visiting the flat on December 1, the victim discovered two other individuals who had also fallen prey to the same scam.
Zvobgo revealed to his victims that he had leased the apartment directly and emphasized that he never advertises his properties through agents.
It became apparent that at least six people had been defrauded of sums ranging between $800 and $900 for the same apartment.
The victim, now facing homelessness, shared his story as a warning to others and appealed for assistance in tracking down the fake landlord. The incident underscores the urgent need for vigilance and caution when dealing with housing transactions, especially in the face of rising cases of fraudulent activities targeting desperate house seekers.