Athlone local scammed through online ad

2015-08-25 06:02

Users of online classified services have been warned of fraudulent activity on the website after an Athlone man was duped out of R8 000 last week.

Athlone police confirmed that the victim responded to an OLX advert for a Toyota Corolla on Tuesday (18 August) morning.

The vehicle advertised the sale of the car for R15 500.

Ahtlone police’s spokesperson Sergeant Zita Norman stated that the victim contacted the seller on her cell phone after which it is further alleged that the seller informed the man to deposit money into various Shoprite store accounts. This was done in order to pay for the deposit to secure the vehicle.

It is only after the seller withdrew the cash, that the man realised that he was a victim of fraud.

“The Athlone police encourages the community to be careful when responding to advertisements where money is a requirement to be deposited without meeting the prospective seller and viewing the vehicle,” stated Norman.

“There are many scams are out there and the community should be very careful when responding to certain advertisements.”

OLX have reiterated that the safety of those using the service is their top priority.

OLX have the following tips to keep the buying experience a safe one:

• If it is too good to be true, it is a scam.

• Try to meet in a safe, public place and bring a friend.

• Always call the seller.

• Check the item before paying. If the item is electronic, plug it in or get it charged to see if it works the way you hoped. This is also true for housing rentals. If you cannot tour the house or apartment before renting it, it is not available in all likelihood.

• When buying a cell phone, check if the serial number (under the battery) is not ‘11111111111’ and check if the serial number is the same as the one printed on the box.

• When buying a vehicle or trailer, make sure to verify vehicle identification numbers (VIN). Also, check that the vehicle’s serial number on the engine corresponds with the number in the papers of the car. OLX advise that it is best to buy a full report about the vehicle at Transunion for R99.

• Always pay in cash and ask for a receipt. Walk away if the seller requests a deposit.

• Only pay via EFT if you do not feel comfortable carrying cash. Clear the funds immediately and check with the seller if it was received.

• Never give out financial details to a stranger.

• Avoid makings transactions with sellers not based in South Africa.

• If someone says they work for OLX, please contact us to verify. OLX has a small team and everybody knows each other.

There is also a list of tips for sellers on OLX’s website, where they can be contacted via e-mail for any consumer-related query. Anyone with information relating to fraudulent activity can contact the Athlone police station on 021 697 9238 or 021 697 9239

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