Be alert to these scams, cops advise

2013-02-08 00:00

YOU can’t win a prize in a competition you haven’t entered.

That’s the reminder from police following the proliferation of various scams in Pietermaritzburg.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said the fraudsters usually relied on e-mail and text messages. They include:

• Receiving an e-mail or SMS informing you that you have won a large sum of money in a competition or an international lottery. When the recipient contacts the sender, he or she is asked to pay an administration fee before the prize can be released.

“Firstly, you cannot win a prize in a competition if you have not entered. And secondly, no legitimate organisation will request you to pay an admin fee to claim a prize,” said Jeevan.

• Others try to get your personal information or banking details. “Never respond to these SMSes or e-mails. Contact the bank or company concerned immediately to verify the authenticity of such correspondence. Delete them immediately when you receive them.”

Jeevan said some crooks approached their targets in the street. “Sometimes, victims are followed by a woman on the street after they have withdrawn money from an ATM or inside the bank. A short while later, an accomplice walks past and pours an unknown liquid on the victim’s clothes.

“The woman will then tell the victim the liquid is muthi that will make all the money in their bank account disappear. To reverse the muthi, the victim must place all his or her belongings and money in an envelope and open it again in an hour.

“When the envelope is opened, blank papers are found inside.

“There are also criminals milling around clothing shops informing would-be shoppers that they can get the clothing at a cheaper price. They must just leave their bag with them at the entrance of the shop and go to select the clothing that they want to buy. When the victim returns, the criminals are nowhere to be found,” Jeevan said.

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