Police warn against online scam

2015-05-06 06:00

THE Kroonstad police strongly warn the public against a scam defrauding people making deals through internet websites. This stern warning comes in the wake of two men fraudulently losing their vehicles to a scam after advertising their vehicles on OLX, a website.

Molebogeng Lechesa, Welkom police spokesperson, said both fraud cases had been reported in March and April this year and were registered at the Kroonstad police. She said an investigation was under way and no arrest had been made.

Lechesa said the victims, 28 and 31 years old respectively, from Kroonstad, 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.

Lechesa said the buyers, claiming to originate from Durban and Johannesburg, contacted the respective vehicle owners.

She said in both cases the two unidentified buyers had each sent a representative; one identified himself as Thabo and the other as Malebojo Bethuel Mathibedi. One pretended to be a nephew and the other a brother of the two buyers.

Lechesa said the scam operators made the victims (vehicle owners) not suspect anything by making appointments and sending representatives to assess the condition of the vehicles in question.

The man identified as Thabo was sent to assess the Polo by the buyer who made an excuse that he was in Durban and thus unable to come to assess the car himself. The man identifying himself as Mathibedi claimed to be from Johannesburg and was sent to assess the Opel Corsa.

Lechesa said the “buyers” had contacted their victims (car owners) asking for their banking details in order to make payments upon their “representatives” having reported that the vehicles were in good condition.

She said after the vehicle owners had received notification of payments via their mobile phones, they released the cars to Mathibedi and Thabo.

Lechesa said that both victims had released their vehicles after fraudulent cheque payments had been made. She said the two victims had discovered that they had been defrauded after verifying payments with their respective banks.

“The complainants were told that the cheques deposited were fraudulent and had bounced.

“The police have discovered that the same modus operandi was used in the two incidents as both cases occurred on Saturday when the banks were closed,” said Lechesa. She said the fraud incident involving the Opel Corsa occurred on 21 March and that of the Polo Classic on 18 April.

Lechesa said the two men had since vanished without a trace after taking the vehicles.

“We are appealing to the community to be vigilant when selling or buying motor vehicles. They must follow proper channels to avoid being victims of crime,” said Lechesa.

Anyone with information regarding the two incidents must contact the investigative officers at the Kroonstad Detective Unit, Capt. Dan Buthelezi on 056-216-7503 during office hours or on 072-563-5512 and Const. Ben Thipane on 056-216-7521 or on 082-902-7035

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