Don’t lose your year-end bonus to con artists

2011-12-17 10:12

With the year coming to an end and many workers having earned bonuses, swindlers and con artists will be on the prowl.

Khaya Phillips* fell for one such swindle when he signed away a chunk of his cash three years ago on an exciting trucking venture.

Multiwave Financial Services, trading as Northern Trucking Development, advertised an opportunity where upon paying a joining fee of R30 000, members would enjoy benefits including training, assistance and guidance. But on signing the contract in February 2008, the trouble began. Phillips was promised he would be trading by July 2008, he would have finance in place, and his truck and trailer would be bought, but he didn’t hear from them again and the firm moved offices without telling him.

After various attempts to find Multiwave, in 2008 Phillips found out that the consultant, Rudi Vermaak, had left the company. In October, a man called Brendon took over Phillips’s file. He told him that Northern Trucking/Multiwave Financial Services “was either defrauded or nearly defrauded by an overseas financial institution and thus there was no development on my application”.

Today Phillips has still not been refunded and has no intention of pursuing legal action because of the high costs.

President of the Southern African Owner Drivers Empowerment Federation, Lennox Magwaza, who has personally referred people to this scheme but subsequently found it was a sham, said “people must be very wary when they get into investments. They must do extensive homework.

“My advice for potential investors would be to check with the mineral resources department. You must also verify if they can pay, how long they have been in business and if their banking details check out. Don’t just sign and pay money to a company you have never heard of.”

Mawethu Vilana, the transport department’s deputy director-general, said his department had a directorate that specifically dealt with queries individuals had with regards to transport deals they would like to enter into.

“The department can meet with individuals to discuss various investment opportunities in the transport sector and you can be advised on who to go to for further assistance,” said Vilana.

He warned would-be investors not to hand over money before seeking professional advice and “make sure you know where it’s going and what it is going to be used for”.

*Phillips asked not to have his real name used to protect his family

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