Watch out for cash refund scam

2018-04-25 06:00

WATCH out — that cheque scam is in operation again and some Greytown service providers have been defrauded of hard earned cash as a result.

Captain Ngcobo of the Greytown police requested the Greytown Gazette to warn members of the public to be aware of this scam.

In a recent incident Captain Ngcobo said a local caterer had received a call on her cellphone from someone who placed an order for a specific event — contact was by cellphone only.

The customer “deposited” the money into the caterer’s account; provided a document to show the funds had been cleared; then contacted the caterer to claim that by mistake too much money had been deposited and “please withdraw the difference and deposit it in the customer’s account”.

But the original deposit was a stolen cheque, the clearance document was created; the proof of payment either a copy of a deposit slip or an altered Internet banking payment confirmation; so the caterer, convinced that the funds have been cleared, then returned the so-called overpayment.

As the “refund” was made by electronic transfer, the funds are immediately released and the fraudster withdraws the money and disappears.

A few days later the initial deposit that was made with a fraudulent cheque is returned, your account is debited and that’s that — money and customer have disappeared. Captain Ngcobo appealed to service providers not to accept orders just through a cellphone call; request a special clearance on cheque deposits; verify with the bank whether the transaction is valid; do not refund any monies until the cheque is fully paid/cleared; delay the refund until such time as you can obtain confirmation as to its legitimacy.

Deposit and refund scams are designed to trick you with payment slips or proof of payments in the hope that you’ll hand over goods or provide services before noticing that the funds have not actually been cleared. Remember money paid is not money cleared.

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