Pensioner was too sharp for scammer

2009-11-09 00:00

GROWING trends of thugs trying to squeeze a quick buck from unsuspecting victims in the guise of banks or government institutions made a Pieter­maritzburg pensioner recognise a scam when he was sold one.

The 73-year-old man, who asked not to be named for safety reasons, said he entered a TV competition about three months ago. He stood to win R850 000 if he SMSed the right answer to the question posed.

“The competition sounded good and I took a chance,” he said.

A few weeks ago he received an SMS claiming he had won the R850 000 and needed to call a Jerry Hopper to claim his win. When he called, Hopper wanted his banking details. He refused and was told to fax his name, along with his residential address where the cheque would be posted instead. Soon after the details were faxed, Hopper changed the story, saying the man had to pay R2 950 for a hand courier.

“The more I tried to get information the more it sounded like a scam. He would not tell me where his offices were. He spoke fast in a foreign accent When he finally told me I had to go to England to claim the money, I knew something was fishy.”

The pensioner said he believes it is important to warn other people.

“Either the competition itself was fake or an insider who could access people’s numbers was trying his luck,” he said.

Senior Superintendent Jay Naicker said there are numerous scams circulating in the province. He said people must realise that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

According to Naicker, two big scams people are falling for, despite repeated warnings, are the redirecting of payment and black dollar scams.

In the latter, people are told that black dollars can be cleaned with a special chemical.

To report a suspected scam, call crime stop at 086 0010 111.

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