Play it safe – OLX

2015-05-27 06:00

OLX advises the public not to accept cheque payments and cheque deposits as payment for any item advertised on social networks.

This follows two recent incidents through which two men from Kroonstad lost their vehicles after conmen had tricked them by depositing fraudulent cheques.

The two men, 28 and 31 years old respectively, apparently advertised the sale of their vehicles through OLX. The 28-year-old man advertised his Opel Corsa Utility, registration HMZ 822 NW, for R150 000 while the 31-year-old man wanted R50 000 for his Polo Classic, registration FHN 762 FS.

The vehicle owners had received notification of payment via their mobile phones when they released the cars to the two conmen who identified themselves as Malebojo Bethuel Mathibedi and Thabo.

Lebogeng Lechesa, Welkom police spokesperson, said the vehicle owners (sellers) discovered that the payments made via cheques were fraudulent after verifying with their banks on Monday. Payments in both cases were reportedly made on weekends after the conmen had requested banking details of the sellers (vehicle owners).

Stephen Ballot, OLX country manager, has encouraged the public to insist on doing every transaction legally. “Avoid paying deposits or accepting cheques. Cash is always king, but for high-value items, make sure with your bank that a payment has indeed been made into your account and that it has cleared.

“If possible, move the money to an alternative account before releasing any items.

“We have a support mailbox (support@olx.co.za). Users can send any questions they have to this email address for assistance,” he said.

“First and foremost, users need to trust their gut. If it doesn’t feel right, rather walk away. For vehicles and property, ensure that there is paperwork showing proof of ownership and that the documentation ties back to the person selling the item. For cellphones, cross-check the serial numbers on the phone with the box. Counterfeit phones normally have serial numbers consisting mostly of one digit, such as 11111110.”

Concerning the case of the two men from Kroonstad allegedly defrauded by conmen, Ballot said: “This now becomes a criminal matter. The first thing the users should do, is report it to the police as well as OLX. The police will be able to open a criminal case.

“Once we as OLX are subpoenaed, we will be able to release any information we find on the site for the scammer. At OLX, we do have systems in place to assist in keeping the site scam-free, but unfortunately sometimes this does still occur. We do continuously strive to create a safe and secure site.”

Ballot further advises people to play it safe.

“If the deal is too good to be true, it more than likely is. Always meet in a public place like a mall or police station. Never go alone. If at any time you feel unsure, just walk away. Ensure that payments are indeed in your bank account and cleared before handing over car keys and papers.”

For more safe buying and selling tips, members of the public can refer to OLX’s help page on the site at wwww.olx.co.za

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