Here at Finextra we often cover clever, tech-driven scams dreamt up by criminals looking to part people from their money.
Sometimes though, the simpler a plan the better, as a gang of crooks in Uganda has demonstrated.
The group set up a bank, Visa Finance, in the town of Malaba on the Kenyan border. They rented an office and began advertising on local radio. Business started to boom and the 'bank' took around $100,000 in deposits.
Then the crooks did a runner, leaving a note saying: "Sorry the bank operations have been moved to a new place."
As news of the scam spread, crowds of victims - mainly retail traders and small-scale farmers from surrounding villages - descended on the fake bank's office but to no avail. Their money was gone.
According to allAfrica, the town council was aware this outfit was operating without a license and eventually threatened to close the thing down but the gang decided
to shut up shop themselves and scarpered.
When I first read the story it bought a smile to my face - you have to admire the simplicity and bravado - but when you think of the devastating effect this will have on the victims it's not so funny. I'm guessing many of them will never trust a bank again
which is a shame, because there's some really good work being done in microfinance to help small business owners in Africa.