Beware of electricity scam

2014-03-31 00:00

From the description of the men and information from Eskom, it seems that these bogus employees could be the same people who were operating in Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. They may have moved to Pietermaritzburg for their new hunting ground.

The woman, who did not want to be named, has reported the matter to the police.

She said two men arrived with Eskom identification tags. The one who spoke, and seemed to be in charge, gave his name as Chris Naidoo and said they worked in the Eskom renewable energy unit. He showed her Eskom identification tags and provided phone numbers. She did not call the numbers at the time but suspects that they could be false or there could be a partner on the other side.

They had a credit card machine to take her deposit of R2 000 and then took a device and plugged it in at her home, telling her she would have to pay R46 a month.

Eskom KZN spokesperson Joyce Zingoni warned residents not to let anyone into their homes unless they themselves had made the appointment with an Eskom person, or unless they have seen an advert giving details, dates, times, products and terms of conditions of the solar geyser project roll-out in their area.

Zingoni said an increasing number of criminals were posing as Eskom employees to gain access to their properties. Members of the public are urged to report incidents of fraud, corruption and irregularities involving Eskom employees or suppliers to Eskom’s forensic and anti-corruption toll-free hotline at 080 011 2722.

A week ago, a group of people claiming to be selling an electricity-saving device were escorted out of Richmond by a local security company after it was feared they were there to scam residents.

They were also reported to be in the Hilton area last week, and residents on the Hilton Ratepayers Association Facebook page were warning people to be on the look-out for the alleged scamsters.

Other scams by Eskom fraudsters

• The modus operandi of a group operating in the Margate and Ramsgate areas: The criminals fraudulently claim that they have to replace the customer’s old geyser with a solar water heater. They then deceptively arrange an after-hours appointment with the homeowner to discuss the replacement of the old geyser. The suspects, one female and three males, carry false Eskom identification and drive a silver Toyota vehicle with the registration number ND 291 728 that is marked with false Eskom signage.

• A supplier of solar water heating systems in Durban, as well as South Coast areas, has been making use of a fraudulent marketing and sales technique whereby sales people of the company telephone homeowners with an offer to do “free energy assessments to help bring down the use of electricity in their homes”. The company has been offering this service and gaining access to consumers’ homes by saying they are from either Eskom or the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (Sessa). Homeowners should note that neither Eskom nor Sessa are conducting “free energy assessments” in the greater Durban and Pietermaritzburg area, and they should take care to not allow solar water heating sales people into their homes who claim that they represent Eskom and Sessa. Homeowners who have taken up the fraudulent offer have been subjected to a bogus evaluation of the energy usage of appliances in their homes, including electrical element geysers, to give sales people an opportunity to urge homeowners to replace their geysers with “solar water heating systems that are supplied exclusively by their company”.

Eskom reminded consumers never to let anyone into their homes without being sure they are indeed who they say they are. Call Eskom’s customer contact centre if unsure: 08600 ESKOM or 086 003 7566.

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