Swindled by fake death Now watching his two kids grow up without a father breaks my heart. I’m here to march to make my voice heard. – Protester Lillian Adams

2015-05-26 06:00

A woman from Harfield Village in Kenilworth suffered a double shock when she heard her loyal domestic worker of five years had passed away; her sadness turned to disbelief when she discovered she had been cheated out of R5000 by the “husband” of her domestic worker.

Chehaam Douglas-Jones of Kenilworth says she wants her ordeal to serve as a warning to others to not get tricked in the same way.

“On Friday afternoon (8 May) my domestic worker, Patricia, left for home as usual. The next morning, at about 07:30, I received a call from someone saying he was her husband. He told me she had died the night before (Friday) after suffering a heart attack. Not believing him as she was only 31-years-old, I asked for her mother’s contact number, which he duly gave. A woman answered and confirmed everything.”

Douglas-Jones says she was still not ready to accept the news of her domestic worker’s death X she called Patricia’s cellphone a few times, but no-one answered.

The “husband” called back and explained they needed to make funeral arrangements and said the policy would only pay out on the Tuesday following Patricia’s “death”.

“He assured me that they would pay the money back when they received the pay-out from the policy. I was absolutely devastated as my domestic worker had been with my family since before my daughter was born X she was like a second mommy to my child.”

Douglas-Jones received another call from the “mother” of her domestic worker.

“She really played on my emotions and I ended up sending them R5000. We as a family were in complete shock. The ‘mother’ and ‘husband’ called back on Sunday asking if I could pay in another R3500. I said I wasn’t able to do so.”

While Douglas-Jones was trying to figure out the next steps, she decided to call her sister-in-law’s domestic worker, Cynthia, who knew Patricia.

“Cynthia asked me for Patricia’s number as she wanted to pay her respects to Patricia’s family. She didn’t get through to the number and contacted one of the ladies at their church, who got hold of our domestic worker.”

Imagine Douglas-Jones’s surprise when Patricia called to ask why everyone thought she was dead.

“I was so shocked, the phone literally fell out of my hand. I told her about the call and what had happened over the last two days and she told me more shocking news.

“According to Patricia someone claiming to be from the UIF office called on Thursday and asked her to verify her details. Being an honest, trustworthy person she complied and confirmed her mother, husband, child’s and work details. She gave them everything they needed for their scam. On Saturday morning at 07:20 someone claiming to be from MTN called her and asked her to turn her phone off for two hours as her number was duplicated and they needed to sort out the problem.”

Patricia complied and left for church. When she returned home in the afternoon she turned her phone back on and discovered it was wiped clean. She was unable to retrieve phone numbers and couldn’t make or receive calls.

“I’m not sure how they managed to do that, but they scammed me out of R5000 and who knows how many other people out there have been had by these scamsters. I am very relieved and happy that she is fine, but I just cannot believe that people would use death as a way to scam for money. My faith and trust have been severely shattered as it’s unbelievable to even think that this is possible. Therefore I think that others should be alerted as we get so attached to the people who work for us and now our emotions are being used against us.”

Douglas-Jones says she reported the crime to the police. At the time of going to print the police had not commented

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