Rampant matric scams

 Kholeka Magwa-Gili finnally got her matric certificate after 20 years.  PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe
Kholeka Magwa-Gili finnally got her matric certificate after 20 years. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

SCAMMERS have sprung up on social media to lure matrics who may have failed their exams with “authentic” matric certificates, for a fee.

The adverts on Facebook, posted from various accounts, promise to help all those who have either failed their matric exams or dropped out of school before reaching Grade 12 to obtain “authentic” matric certificates for between R1 500 and R2 500, without having to sit for exams.

When The Witness contacted one of the numbers via WhatsApp to enquire about the matric certificate, the person who responded said he was employed by the Department of Education as a database capturer.

The person texted The Witness and said he does not sell fake certificates as he follows the department’s registration system to help people get a legitimate bar-coded certificate with a serial number.

“We make sure that you collect your matric certificate at your nearest Department of Education office. We register you to the Department of Education system and you get an SMS confirming you have been registered like any matriculant in South Africa. After 14 days you receive an SMS to collect your matric certificate at your closest Department of Education office.”

The person instructed the reporter to send personal information including ID number, previous exam and centre numbers and to make the first payment of R1 500 via Pep store money transfer service and then send them the PIN to withdraw the money.

He said they use this money “to bribe those who are in the department where certificates are being made”.

“We write exams for you as per desired marks or percentage.

“After your matric certificate has been done you receive your second SMS with more information that tells you to collect your certificate at your closest Department of Education office and … you then send the last payment of R1 000 and then we go our separate ways,” said the person.

The person also sent The Witness pictures of people supposedly holding their matric certificates, claiming they were some of his “happy clients”.

Attempts to call the person were unsuccessful as the number went straight to voicemail.

According to Pep’s Local Money Transfers, a person can collect the money from any Shoprite, Checkers, USave or Absa ATM.

No form of personal identification is required to collect the money, making it hard to identify the person who withdraws the cash.

Kwazi Mthethwa, spokesperson for the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, told The Witness that this was not one of their employees.

“It’s fake. We are not even interested in this and will not entertain it. It’s fake news. We do not operate on a basis of bribes.

“We have not authorised anybody to solicit money from the public, that’s why I’m saying it’s fake news and that we won’t entertain this. We don’t know these people,” he said.

Mthethwa refused to answer whether such an operation was possible or not and if the department would be investigating this matter further.

An informed source with expert knowledge about commercial crimes told The Witness that he thinks that the people promising to issue these certificates were “random people trying to make a quick buck”.

“Officials from the department won’t go on social media or the internet and state that they will issue the certificates illegally.

“I think if officials were to do something like this, they would use an individual-to-individual or face-to-face approach so chances of these people being employed by the department are very slim.”

He said it was probably the common scamsters or fraudsters targeting matric pupils who will fail because they know that they will be getting their results soon.

He said the Department of Education would have to lay a complaint for the police to get involved.

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