Public warned to watch out for 'election robbers'

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ID theft is surprisingly easy in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
ID theft is surprisingly easy in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

South Africans have been urged to stay vigilant and be careful as a nefarious group of scammers, masquerading as Department of Home Affairs officials, are using the upcoming general election as a ploy to rob people.

These so-called "election robbers" pretend to be home affairs officials, in the hope that unsuspecting members of the public will allow them into their homes.

The scam is fairly straightforward, with the robbers showing documents, purportedly with Home Affairs letterheads, to their targets and claiming that they need to confirm the validity of IDs for the election.

The scammers then go on to rob their victims of their valuables.

In a statement issued by the department, acting Home Affairs Director-General Thulani Mavuso stated: "We don't come to your homes to validate your IDs, you come to us, as citizens, for IDs and other services."

This is, however, not the first time this scam has been employed.

In 2017, the department alerted the public to the scam, adding at the time that "there is no such initiative from the department", and that it would "announce household visits through official government channels". They added that home affairs officials were clearly identifiable by name tags.

News of the scam's resurgence comes mere months after the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) warned the public about would-be robbers posing as TV licence officials.

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