A woman has been arrested on fraud charges after a Cape Town woman was catfished out of around R4m by a "man" she met on a dating site, and offered her a business partnership, the Hawks said on Tuesday.
Spokesperson Captain Philani Nkwalase said the case had been investigated since 2016 after the woman was tricked into transferring the money to a person with a man's profile between May and August 2016.
A complaint of fraud was laid in September 2016 when the woman realised she had been scammed, and the police finally made an arrest this year.
Nokuthula Ndaba, 43, appeared in the Germiston Magistrate's Court on April 15 on fraud charges.
She was granted bail and her next appearance will be on May 29, when the case will be transferred to the Bellville Magistrate's Court in Cape Town.
Nkwalase said the next court appearance could reveal what the woman is alleged to have done, as these scams do not always involve one person.
Sometimes scamsters pay a small cut to a South African bank account holder, who poses as the "accountant" and receives money.
The money is then moved out of that account to another account.
'We will get you'
"This is money laundering," said Nkwalase, urging people to never let anybody use their bank account to shift money for somebody else.
"We will get you," he said.
Nkwalase said more arrests were expected soon.
He explained that investigations of this nature took a long time, as the police had to build a profile and find locations of scamsters who moved around a lot.
"Some people purport to be overseas, but are local," he said.
He cautioned that the best protection against being scammed was to not give away personal details, such as identity numbers or addresses, and to make an effort to meet the person "the orthodox way" in real life, and in a public place like a shopping centre.
"Be extra vigilant. But fraudsters are there to prey on unsuspecting people, and prey on their needs, be it job opportunities and relationship seeking," he said.
Victims apparently rarely get their money back. If they are lucky a vehicle or devices bought with the loot can be seized.
"But it's rarely the case - mostly the money has been squandered," Nkwalase said.