Reserve Bank warns against scammers 'recalling cash contaminated with coronavirus'

2020-03-17 11:02

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has warned the public about fake officials who go around collecting cash "contaminated" with the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) from unsuspecting people.

The SARB says it is not withdrawing banknotes and coins because of the pandemic.

The scam comes amid fears and panic as the novel coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2, continues to spread in South Africa and across the world.

In a statement, the SARB said it had been made aware of fake news involving the scam claiming that it is "recalling" money from the public.

"It is believed that criminal elements are visiting the homes of members of the public, telling them to hand over banknotes in their possession because the banknotes have been contaminated with the coronavirus.

"These criminal elements carry fake SARB identification and provide false receipts in lieu of the banknotes 'collected', which they purport can be collected from any of the banks.

Virus not transmitted through cash

"The SARB has neither withdrawn any banknotes or coins, nor issued any instruction to hand in banknotes or coins that may be contaminated with Covid-19.

"The SARB will not, under any circumstances, send employees or representatives to collect cash from the public. If members of the public are approached by individuals purporting to be SARB employees or representatives to hand in their cash, they should refuse and contact local police."

The Reserve Bank said there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted through the use of banknotes and coins.

"The SARB continues to encourage members of the public to follow basic hygiene practice and clean their hands often," it added.

READ | Check before you send: Debunking the hoaxes and lies around the novel coronavirus

On Monday, Netcare also urged members of the public to be vigilant of criminals pretending to be officials under the guise of conducting Covid-19 home screenings, News24 reported.

This comes after the hospital group received reports that criminals were going to homes in various areas, claiming to be from Netcare or Netcare 911, and saying they are assisting the Department of Health with door-to-door screening.

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Read more on:    sa reserve bank  |  sarb  |  fraud  |  coronavirus
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