“Congratulation! Your mobile no has won R450, 000.00 on a Nokia promotion with ticket no 0166P. For claim call Mrs Lucia Khumalo on 0789848586 from 8 am to 5 pm.”
Have you received an SMS such as this? Then you’ve been the target of a cellphone scam which, rather than making you money, could cost you dearly.
This sort of con is commonly known as a 419 or advance scam because the so-called lucky winner always has to cough up a little in advance before it ostensibly starts raining money.
And this is exactly how crooks still succeed in conning plenty of unsuspecting South Africans.
Many believe these scams originate in Nigeria, hence the description 419, which is the number of the criminal procedure law article that applies to fraud in Nigeria.
But don’t believe it: a special YOU investigation has revealed our fellow South Africans are also defrauding us – and making pots of money doing so.
Most of us have learnt to ignore these SMSes, but what happens if you actually phone the number and try to claim your prize?
YOU’s Eddie Maluleke Kalili (photo) set out to find out. Read more in YOU 18 October 2012.