Warning to festive season shoppers

2011-12-20 14:35

Pretoria - Festive season shoppers are being targeted by criminals presenting themselves as shop salesmen, Pretoria police warned on Tuesday.

"The shoppers are often approached by people claiming to be salesmen and offering them discounts or prizes. These criminals can even be found inside shops pretending to work from there," said Warrant Officer Ann Poortman, police spokesperson for Pretoria Central.

She said there had been an increase in the number of people complaining to police about the scammers.

"We have intervened as police in different ways. As we speak, our members have been dispatched on foot to the Bloed Street Mall and the Sammy Marks Square, which were the hot spots. We are also giving out pamphlets and speaking to the public," she said.

She said a number of men and women had been arrested in connection with the incidents.

Poortman also warned members of the public to avoid making withdrawals of large sums of money and "walking around with it", as trends indicated rampant robberies during this time of the year.

"Rather opt for electronic transfers into your account, which is safe. Walking with a large sum of money is very risky," she said.

Meanwhile, the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) also warned against making cash withdrawals over the festive season.

The number of bank clients who made large cash withdrawals or large deposits and get robbed was continuing to rise over the festive season compared to the rest of the year, Sabric CEO Kalyani Pillay said in a statement.

"In December alone a total of 13 incidents were reported where large sums of money belonging to members of stokvels or savings clubs were robbed," said Pillay.

"Clients are urged to refrain from carrying large sums of cash... It is tragic to see people lose money, especially after saving all year."

On December 12, a Free State woman was shot and wounded by two men who robbed her of R26 000 stokvel money.

- SAPA

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