Rent an ID’ scam bust

2008-02-08 00:00

Durban police have bust a "rent an ID" syndicate, which supplies fake identity documents, police salary slips, and letters of employment to people who apply for cellphone contracts and loans.

After intense investigation, a team from the Durban Central SAPS tracked down two women at the Autopage Cellular store in Gamecity, Greyville.

The police questioned the women and became suspicious when they evaded questions about some documents in their possession. The women were in the process of taking out a cellphone contract when approached by police.

A fake ID and a dead policeman’s salary slip were used to take out the contract for the cellphones valued at R8 000.

It is believed that the suspects took out contracts from cellphone dealers around Durban and then sold the phones to Nigerians living in the Point area.

After the suspects were arrested, they led police to a house in Umlazi, where more fake identity documents were found.

Police found 20 fake IDs, bank statements, letters of employment and other fraudulent documents inside a bedroom.

They arrested the owner, who told police that the salary slip belonged to her late husband who died in 2004.

The woman also said that a Nigerian national made the fake IDs on his computer and supplied them to her.

She charged people fees ranging from R100 to R500 for documents to apply for loans and cellphone contracts.

The woman was also arrested for supplying the two suspects with fraudulent documents.

Autopage Cellular manager Lloyd Moodley said that, although the documents looked authentic, the women seemed nervous about filling out the application form.

Moodley said that a friend who was also a police officer had warned him about the syndicate.

"She told me to call her if I ever noticed anything suspicious. I knew these women were up to something. They seemed so nervous," he said.

Moodley said that the syndicate had huge implications for business and that it was impossible to safeguard companies against fraudsters.

Head of Durban Central SAPS Commissioner Bala Naidoo confirmed the arrests and said that the women were due to appear in court soon on fraud charges.

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