New impersonation scam emerges on Viber targeting the education sector, and asking for funds to be sent via MPAiSA - Shandil

New impersonation scam emerges on Viber targeting the education sector, and asking for funds to be sent via MPAiSA - Shandil

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 01/11/2023

The Consumer Council of Fiji is issuing a fresh alert to the public regarding a new and highly sophisticated form of impersonation scam targeting the education sector that has recently come to the council’s attention.

In this latest mutation of the Viber impersonation scam, hackers have infiltrated Viber accounts of several prominent figures in the education sector and are sending messages to teachers and colleagues, requesting funds to be transferred to certain M-PAiSA accounts.

This manipulative scheme preys on the goodwill of individuals who genuinely want to help, and it has already caused financial distress to some victims.

Council CEO, Seema Shandil says scammers have evolved their tactics to exploit the trust of individuals in the education sector, posing a financial threat to teachers and prominent figures within the education sector.

Shandil is urging the public to take heed of this new development as this scam will potentially spill-over and target the general public.

The council says one disturbing case involved the hacking of the Viber account of Muniappa Gounder, the General Secretary of the Fiji Teachers Union.

Shandil says messages were sent from his compromised account to teachers and other individuals in the education community, requesting urgent fund transfers, often citing critical reasons.

Another targeted individual was Sangeeta Singh, the CEO of the Fiji Teachers Registration Authority. Her Viber account was also compromised, with fraudulent messages sent to teachers and other prominent figures in the education sector, imploring them to send money.

In one particularly cunning tactic, a high school assistant principal received a call, purportedly from an educational institution, claiming to have sent him important information.

He was asked to click on a link sent via text messages, which ultimately led to the hacking of his Viber account.

Subsequently, messages were sent from his account to teachers, urging them to transfer money.

Shandil says the scammers have been utilizing various excuses to persuade their victims to send funds, including urgent medical attention and an immediate need for cash.

A significant challenge in this new scam is that when consumers attempt to call the number via Viber to verify if the person genuinely needs assistance, the call is answered by the scammers themselves.

As a result, the council strongly advises consumers to make a normal cellular call to the individual in question before transferring any money to ensure their identity.

Shandil says it is alarming to see the evolution of these fraudulent impersonation schemes.

They urge all teachers and individuals in the education sector to exercise extreme caution and verify the identity of those requesting financial assistance.

Consumers are also reminded to urgently switch-on two-factor authentication for their viber app to reduce vulnerability to such hacking.

The Council is actively engaged with the Multi-Interagency Taskforce, led by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Trade, Cooperatives, SMEs, and Communications.

This collaboration aims to devise effective strategies and actions to address such scams and protect consumers from further harm.

People who have fallen victim to such scams are urged to contact the Council immediately through the national consumer helpline at 155 or via email at

Drua face rough seas as they go down 34-10 to Blues
The Swire Shipping Fijian Drua faced some rough seas in Auckland as they went down 34-10 to the Blues in their first match of the 2024 Shop N Save Sup...
8 hours ago
People can re-join FNPF at 55 after full withdrawal of funds
Members who have fully withdrawn their Fiji National Provident funds at 55 years old can rejoin FNPF. This was highlighted by the FNPF Manager ...
8 hours ago

Residents concerned with increase in rates
Some residents of Savusavu have raised concerns regarding the increase in town rates targeted to special rates, garbage rates and general ...
8 hours ago

Tukini Cama was a person who brought joy and energy to the room - Archbishop Chong
Ratu Kinijoji Rayacarogo George Cama, commonly known as Tukini Cama, will be missed by many as he is a person who can make other people happy and ...
8 hours ago

Health is priority for the Coalition Govt – Biman Prasad
Health is a priority for the Coalition Government. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Biman Prasad highlighted this during the ...
8 hours ago

And now for Fiji First??
It seems strange but just over 12 months into the current parliamentary term, we need to remind ourselves that FijiFirst is still the largest single ...
10 hours ago

fijivillage Straight Talk with Vijay Narayan
Latest Videos

Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations

CFL radio frequencies
Kishore Kumar Trial
Kishore Kumar is charged with allegedly making false claims on his Facebook page, Kishore Kumar Publications that there was a porn video of ...
4 days ago

Concerns raised regarding the state of CWM Hospital
General and Chief Pediatric Surgeon at the CWM Hospital, Dr Josese Turagava says due to the increase in the number of people who are moving to the ...
6 days ago

HSBC Perth 7s 2024
The Fiji Airways Men’s National 7s side secured a 4th place finish at the HSBC Perth 7s while the Fijiana 7s finished 8th in the Women’s ...
21 days ago