Scam alert: Watchdog warns of bribes, fake prices for essentials

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The Competition Commission has warned the public not to fall for a scammers circulating a fake price list purporting to contain guidelines for health and hygiene products.

The antitrust body – which has been cracking down on price gouging on essential items during the coronavirus pandemic – also warned the public against criminals pretending to be investigators from the Commission, who have been approaching businesses attempting to solicit bribes.

Despite efforts to crack down on price gouging, the Commission has issued no pricing guidelines, it stressed in a statement.

"We are, however, investigating unreasonable price increases on essential items in line with the regulations issued by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel," it said.

"We urge members of the public to ignore this fake list and discourage anyone from circulating it."

It also said any investigation would be accompanied by official written correspondence, either before or after a phone call from an investigator. Investigators can be verified by calling 0123943378 or sending an email to Ccsa@compcom.co.za, it said.

Scammers have been reported to law enforcement, the Commission added.

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