Transport Minister Dipuo Peters’s name is being used by an impostor in a 419 scam, which claims the minister has $30.5 million (more than R300 million) and needs help to move the money. “Firstly, let me start by introducing myself as Mrs Elizabeth Dipuo Peters,” writes the impostor, using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. “I am visually impaired widow, a mother of two children and former Premier of the Northern Cape Province (22 April 2004 – 10 May 2009) under the auspices of the President of South Africa, Mr Thabo Mbeki, and now elected as a Minister of Energy of the Republic of South Africa since 11 May 2009.” Peters in fact is now the minister of transport. The impostor said she had received the recipient’s contact details through the “foreign information exchange in South Africa on a personal request” so they could find a reliable and trustworthy foreign individual. “After due deliberation with my children, I decided to contact you for your assistance in standing as a beneficiary to the sum of $30.5 million.” The email is an example of advance fee fraud, also referred as a 419 scam. The number 419 refers to the article of the Nigerian criminal code dealing with fraud. Usually, victims receive emails claiming that their help is needed to access large sums of money. In return, the helper is promised a percentage of the money. The impostor claimed that after being widowed in 1986, she discovered her husband had the money in an account with a security and finance institution in South Africa. “I will divulge information to you when I get your full consent and support to go for a change of beneficiary and subsequent transfer of the funds into a comfortable and conducive account of your choice,” the impostor wrote. The funds had been invested for the further education of her children, the email added. For changing your account beneficiary details, the impostor claimed they would hand over 20% of the sum as a fee, plus 5% of any expenses incurred during the transaction. The email listed a South African cellphone number as a contact number, and reminded the reader that the transaction had to remain absolutely confidential. Hawks spokesperson Captain Paul Ramaloko said this kind of fraudulent crime was common in South Africa. “Yes, the crime is prevalent. The perpetrators take advantage of people who are less suspecting, and we are basically saying if it is too good to be true, then something is wrong,” he said. “We have a fully fledged unit within the Hawks focused on the plight of 419 scam victims.” If a member of the public was defrauded by the scam, they should contact the police, who would alert the Hawks. The transport department was not available for comment.