Community urged to be wary of scammers

2016-02-24 06:00

A DISTRAUGHT middle aged woman told the Weekly that she was a victim of an elaborate scam which started off in the KwaDukuza CBD last Wednesday, 17 February, which saw her lose just over R23 000.

She said that after a person - who is unknown to the victim - brushed against her, another woman, who she described as decent, calling herself Mrs Gumede approached her.
The victim said that Mrs Gumede immediately approached her and told her that since she had made contact with the unknown person who brushed up against her, she would lose all the money that was in her bank account.

Mrs Gumede then added that she had also experienced the same thing and that they should see a police officer, an Inspector Zulu who would help them, said the victim.

“I was worried and I was panicking so I believed her and followed her. We went near the KwaDukuza Library where we met Inspector Zulu who then told us if we do not want to lose our money we should head to Durban,” she said.

The woman said she and Mrs Gumede jumped into a white Opel Kadett with an ND registration which was also boarded by Zulu and another occupant unknown to her.

She said once they had arrived in Durban, she and Mrs Gumede were instructed by Zulu to withdraw a large sum of money, place it in envelopes and return to the vehicle with the envelopes.

“Mrs Gumede and I went our separate ways as she said she uses a different bank. I withdrew R23 700 and did as I had been instructed.
“When I returned to the car, Mrs Gumede had returned ahead of me and told me that she had learned that something had happened to her account and that officials at her bank told her to rush to Pietermaritzburg to fix it,” she said.

The woman said Zulu then asked her if she had noticed any problems with her account and whether she had been able to withdraw some money.
She said after telling Zulu that she was able to withdraw money, Zulu then said she should go to the police in KwaDukuza while Zulu, Mrs Gumdene and another unidentified occupant of the car should rush to Pietermaritzburg so that Mrs Gumede can quickly resolve her issue.

“Zulu then held my hands together with the envelope squashed between them. He told me not to look inside the envelope, but rather take it to the police in KwaDukuza and report the matter there.
“I followed his instructions and when I arrived at the KwaDukuza SAPS I realised that the money in the envelope had been replaced with a folded newspaper.
“The police told me cases such as mine are common and that I should rush to the bank to ensure my account is fine,” she said.

She said she wants other members of the public to be aware of such a scam and be alert.

KwaDukuza SAPS spokesperson, warrant officer Johannes Khoza confirmed that such incidents are common in KwaDukuza as several people had reported similar cases to the police.

“Through being negligent people end up losing their money - people need to be cautious. We do not have an exact description of those suspected of being perpetrators of such crimes. Some people have reported that suspects use VW Polos or Golf 1s.
“Such cases are a major concern for us as many people have been victimised,” he said.

An official from one of the major banks in KwaDukuza said whenever people suspect fraudulent activity has occurred on their accounts they should immediately communicate with their bank rather than seek help from individuals who are not employed by the bank.

Zulu then held my hands together with the envelope squashed between them. He told me not to look inside the envelope, but rather take it to the police in KwaDukuza and report the matter there. I followed his instructions and when I arrived at the KwaDukuza SAPS I realised that the money in the envelope had been replaced with a folded newspaper.

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