Conman steals deposits

2010-10-12 00:00

A COUPLE have fallen victim to a conman who pretends to be leasing a property and collects multiple deposits for the same property.

Suyeka Bennie and fiancee Sharan lost R3 500 on Thursday after they responded to an advert in The Witness for a vacant flat.

On Wednesday the couple phoned the number provided in the advert and were given details of the flat, which is in Clarendon.

They asked to view the flat and the conman sent them a text message that directed them to 10 Riverleigh Flats to fetch the keys to No. 16.

They picked up the key and viewed the flat and were happy with it.

“I phoned the man to ask what was to be done next and he instructed us to deposit R3 500 into his lawyer’s bank account. On Thursday my fiancee deposited the money, and when I phoned the man to confirm the deposit his phone was off.

“When he answered later in the day he became rude and that’s when I suspected foul play. I asked a colleague to phone the same number and pretend to be interested to the flat and she was told the flat was vacant and she should deposit an amount into the lawyer’s bank account,” said Bennie.

On Friday she went to the bank to try to reverse the transaction but it was too late. There was no money in the account and the man’s cellphone has been unreachable ever since.

On the same day, the same flat was advertised by Natal Property. On inquiring, Bennie was told that the company could not help her.

Natal Property spokesperson Bruce Campbell said people should not pay money to strangers, “This man has been doing this for about a month now and people don’t seem to learn. He checks the agencies with properties to lease, views the property and places the advert in the paper.

“Do not deposit or pay your money in any form to others without getting an assurance that the transaction is legitimate. We are also trying to bring this crook to book,” said Campbell.

Police are investigating a case of theft under false pretences.

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