Pensioner loses entire grant after scammers duplicate his card

2019-03-11 16:45

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Social grant beneficiaries, including pensioners, have fallen victim to a card scam.

At least one police case has been opened in connection with the fraud by a pensioner who claims to have lost R5 050. The scam apparently involves duplicating beneficiaries’ cards and then clearing out their account.

The South African Post Office (Sapo), which took over distributing grants last year, has been issuing “Sassa fraud affidavits” to affected people which they can produce at a Sassa office to be given their grant.

The affidavit explains to Sassa that the grant beneficiary had another card “opened in my name”, adding that “It is clear to me that my identity was stolen and a false ... account was opened in my name”.

One woman, who did not want to be named, had assisted an 84-year-old man, who is in frail care, to get his pension.

“A friend of mine lives in England and her dad asked me to help because her dad was stressed out that he couldn’t get his pension.”

The woman said she struggled to find out why the man’s grant was depleted. “I had to drag this old man to three post offices and no one can give me a printout of his transactions.

“It turned out that a duplicate was made of his card in the Transvaal area.”

The man eventually opened a case of theft. In an affidavit to police, he said that he had lost his entire grant of R4 200 plus an amount of R850, which was in the account.

The affidavit said the money was drawn out at an ATM in Vryheid.

Another Howick man claimed his grandmother’s account was cleared out in the scam.

“I went to Sassa to find out what happened and they said the card was re-issued somewhere in Durban in January and all the funds were drawn out on February 1,” said the man.

He said there were many people at his local Sassa branch with the same problem. “People were complaining about the same modus operandi — their card was re-issued mid-January and cleared out on February 1.”

Sassa spokesperson Mbizeni Mdlalose confirmed they were aware of the scam, but was unable to say how many beneficiaries were affected.

He advised anyone affected to submit their ID and an affidavit to Sassa, which will be forwarded to Sapo for an investigation, which could take between seven and 21 days.

He said grant recipients should visit a Sassa office and go through a process where future grants would be deposited in a private account, as opposed to the Sassa card.

A beneficiary will be refunded if “proved beyond reasonable doubt” that it was not due to negligence, he said.

The post office did not respond to a query.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  pension scam

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