Woman nets R18?000 in flat scam

2010-07-06 00:00

A WOMAN posing as a Pietermaritzburg nurse has elicited no less than R18 000 from Durban home seekers last week, in a property scam strikingly similar to one conducted by a burqa-clad fraudster in Pietermaritzburg last month.

Calling herself “Chanelle Schultz”, the woman approached House Proud relators in Durban and said she had been transferred from St Anne’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg to St Augustine’s in Durban and needed to rent a unit in a complex.

Neither St Anne’s nor St Augustine’s have record of a nursing staff member with the name “Chanelle Schultz”.

According to House Proud proprietor John Hattingh, Schultz expressed interest in a unit in Glenwood, and requested the apartment’s keys to “show her fiancé” around the new place.

“She was given a remote and key and, as I understand it, she pitched up at the property with would-be tenants and showed them around as though she was the property agent,” said Hattingh.

Workers at the complex said she had “lightish brown skin”, drove a blue Mercedes Benz and appeared to be in her thirties.

Although she matched the description of “Shaida Dramat”, who scammed potential tenants out of around R18 000 in Pietermaritzburg early last month, no definitive correlation could be made.

Schultz placed small classifieds in Durban newspapers advertising a property for rent in Glenwood. “No agents please,” it read.

Giovanni de Pace, director of the complex’s body corporate, said workers saw Schultz bring people to view the unit last Monday.

“At least seven people came to look at a flat that didn’t belong to her. Apparently she was well dressed and looked trustworthy; no one suspected what she was doing,” he said.

De Pace said the next day, two young woman approached him regarding the flat.

“They asked if I knew anything about the flat, as they had paid this woman R6 120 and were supposed to meet her to get the keys. They showed me their receipt and everything,” he added.

Not half-an-hour later, a man approached De Pace with the same problem: he had paid Schultz R6 120 for the same apartment and needed the keys.

On Wednesday morning a third person arrived at the complex, expecting keys to the apartment he had also paid a R6 120 security deposit for.

“She had told them she had a problem with her bank account, but provided banking details for their monthly rent payments,” De Pace said.

“When we checked up on the bank account, we found it belonged to a man who knew nothing of this deal,” he said.

The woman has since switched off her cellphone and disappeared.

The owner of the unit in question is in the UK and has been notified of the scam.

Property specialists encourage potential tenants to ask for positive identification from agents, and to be wary of agents asking for large sums in cash.







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