Pensioner warns of grant scams

2017-11-21 14:39

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As the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) warns the public of grant scams, a Pieter­maritzburg pensioner reveals he almost fell victim to one last week.

Dawood Hoosen (75) of Pelham received a call on his landline from someone claiming to be a Sassa staffer last Thursday evening. 

Hoosen, who has been a pensioner for 10 years, said his suspicions were raised when the supposed Sassa worker began asking for his card details.

“My wife is very alert to things like possible scams. So when the person who called asked for my Sassa card PIN number, we knew something was wrong,” he said.

“When we apply for [a Sassa] card, the attendant doesn’t even want to know what the PIN number is. So why would they ask for it now?”

Hoosen said the caller told them they wanted his card details because Sassa cards were set to expire next month. They were trying to get details beforehand to avoid a backlog.

“I just put the phone down on them,” he said.

The following day Hoosen went to inquire at the Sassa office in the CBD and was told by a manager that there was no such operation.

“They were probably trying to get the card and PIN numbers to take all the money out. They can make millions like that,” he said, adding that he wanted the public to be aware of the alleged scam operation.

“The person who phoned was quite convincing and sounded professional, and old people tend to be believing.”

Sassa KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Mbizeni Mdlalose did not respond to a detailed query from The Witness, but did release a statement via their Facebook page warning grant beneficiaries of an SMS scam doing the rounds.

The SMS asks grant beneficiaries to send in their ID numbers, Sassa card number and PIN number to win a Christmas competition.

The statement said: “Beneficiaries are reminded to keep their PINs secret and not to disclose their card and ID numbers at all.”

The Witness has in the last few months run several stories about local pensioners struggling to get their pensions.

Last month, it was reported that some pensioners were horrified to discover their grant payments suddenly stopped.

It then emerged that this could have been as a result of a 2014 fire at a Sassa document warehouse, which destroyed some grant beneficiaries’ documents.

Read more on:    scams

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