Study story a scam

2016-12-06 08:37

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A cool con man is doing the rounds with a sad story to help people get him through school and into university. But beware, it’s all a scam.

Barbara Dean from Bergvliet almost became the latest victim of the young con artist.

Dean says they were approached at their home in November by a well-spoken young man who claimed to be a learner at Claremont High School.

During this visit he explained that he was promised a bursary from Allan Gray to study Actuarial Science at UCT next year but that he needed R300 to apply urgently.

“It was such a sad story that he spun as he told us that he walked from Rwanda four years ago and has no family in Cape Town,” says Dean.

“He also said that he was staying at the Haven night shelter in Claremont on a regular basis, which I found strange because the organisation does not operate in that way.

“He is obviously very intelligent and well-educated, can hold a good conversation, claims to be a devout Christian and was extremely polite and respectful towards me. He even wrote me a poem which is testimony to his intellectual ability.”

Dean says documents he had with him gave his name as Daniel Similemewethe. She describes him as of average height with a slim build, wearing glasses with short, neatly cut hair. He was clean-shaven but there were traces of a beard.

“At the time of his visit he was wearing a school uniform of dark grey pants and blazer, white long-sleeved collared shirt and red tie,” she says.

“He also carries a zipped black folder containing the documents, a form from UCT detailing requirements for student registration and a form from the Haven night shelter for his reserved place in their dormitory.

“Part of his story is that he won a Bible quiz that helped him pay for his stay at the shelter but now needed more to stay there.”

Dean admits she was initially impressed by the visitor’s manner and determination to make something of his life. But during a second visit there seemed to be some inconsistencies in his story.

“I offered to sponsor his accommodation for a short period and called the night shelter to get their bank details,” she says.

“That is when the story started unravelling, because they did not know him. A call to the high school also revealed that this was not the first time that he was trying this scam.

“The secretary of the school could immediately give me a description, because he had tried to con so many people before me.”
Luzuko Mayekiso of Allan Gray’s client service department is concerned about these activities, pointing out that students or prospective students who receive scholarships from them are not called on to pay any fees relating to the bursaries.

“We would like the public to know that the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation does not ask for any money with our scholarship and fellowship applications,” he says.

Dean says she hopes people become aware of this scam and contact the police if he is spotted in the area.

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