Man scammed out of R20 000

2016-11-10 06:01

A STERN warning is being sent to the public to be on high alert when buying cars and goods online from strangers.

The warning was issued after a man in Tongaat was defrauded of R20 000 by a female con artist who promised to sell him a new car last week.

According to the information from the Tongaat SAPS, the victim saw an advert on the internet advertising a new Golf 3 GTI.

Police spokesperson in Tongaat Warrant Officer Manisha Maharaj-Marie said: “The victim made arrangements with the scrupulous car dealer to buy a vehicle. The suspect then supplied him with her bank details using a cellphone number which we suspect is only used to commit crimes.

“The suspect told the victim to deposit the money at the bank prior to their arrival. The victim deposited the money and further arrangements were made to meet the car dealer at King Shaka International Airport. When he arrived at the airport he phoned the car dealer to inform her that he was at King Shaka. The victim was shocked when he realised the woman’s cellphone was switched off. He opened a case of fraud at the police station,” she said.

Maharaj-Marie urged the public to refrain from buying goods from unreliable sellers online.

“Police are investigating a case of fraud. No arrest has been made at this stage and the suspect is still at large.”

In July, the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) launched schemes and scams awareness campaign in a bid to warn the members of the public to be vigilant when doing business online.

According to the information published by Sabric on its website the number of people defrauded in 2016 has increased by five percent.

“The scam operates by an innocent recipient receiving an email or letter informing them that a particular supplier of theirs has changed their bank account details. The correspondence will include the details of the new account. You will be asked to make future payments into the new account. In certain instances the fraudsters also phone the victims informing them of the change of details, saying that letter will follow.

“The telephone call will be used by the fraudster so that they can extract more information to make their communication more believable,” Sabric said.

Sabric general manager Susan Potgieter told the Weekly: “Consumers must ensure that they know who they are doing business with online so that they are able to enforce their rights should there be problems with the purchase. The seller of a motor vehicle online should be asked to provide proof of identity as well as ownership of the car.

“While these documents can be forged, the purchaser will at least have the opportunity to verify the information ahead of the purchase. It is important to also ask for the physical address of the seller as well as delivery address for the vehicle.

“If all the information does not seem logical, it should be a red flag and it will be best not to proceed with the purchase,” she said.

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