Health official stung in car scam

2008-08-19 00:00

A Durban man, who works for the Health Department in Pietermaritzburg, is among many victims of a scam targeting prospective vehicle buyers.

The senior health official, who asked to remain anonymous, said it took a tempting newspaper advert, a few cellphone calls and a bank account for him to lose R22 500 in the space of a few minutes.

The Witness has learned that many victims have lost cash in similar ways and cases are being investigated in Durban.

The official said he was desperate for an automatic car. He saw a classified advert for a 1997 Corolla 1,6 in a Durban newspaper on June 17.

“I immediately called the number and a Dr Anand Singh said he was selling the vehicle to emigrate to the UK. He said he was also selling a house in Estcourt and a surgery in Bergville,” said the man.

Singh promised him the car, which he said had low mileage and a service plan, for R22 500.

“He wanted me to deposit the money on June 18 as he was leaving the country on June 19. He only wanted cash.”

Singh said that his daughter and wife would deliver the car to Pietermaritzburg at 4 pm.

The official deposited the money into Singh’s Standard Bank account and waited for the car, which never arrived. He called the cellphone, but the number did not exist anymore.

On June 19, he went to open a case with the police to stop Singh from withdrawing the cash, but he was too late.

Police spokeswoman Joey Jeevan asked for other victims to call Inspector Brett Rasmussen at 082 450 8644 or 033 845 2748.

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