Despite several warnings issued to the public not to release any property that has been sold unless, the bank provides the assurance that the funds have been cleared and have been deposited into the seller’s account, the SAPS is still receiving reports that the public is falling victim to crimes of fraud.
Modus operandi of the different perpetrators of scams:
•The seller advertises a vehicle for sale and receives a ‘phone call from a person showing an interest in purchasing the vehicle.
•The “prospective buyer” informs the seller that someone will come to view the vehicle.
•The person arrives on behalf of the “buyer” and then ’phones the “buyer”. They discuss various issues regarding the vehicle and the “buyer” shows a keen interest in purchasing the vehicle.
•The price is negotiated and the seller becomes excited because he / she is going to get his / her money.
The seller receives a message that an electronic funds transfer (EFT) has been effected.
- Do not accept this message as payment. Always check with the bank that the funds have been cleared, before releasing the vehicle or any relevant documents.
•Once the vehicle has been released, the seller goes to the bank only to find that no transaction has taken place, and the “buyer” has disappeared.
•A “buyer” goes to a car dealership and identifies a car. This normally happens on a Friday afternoon or on a Saturday morning.
•The “buyer” creates the impression that the vehicle is needed urgently, for example, for a funeral.
•A false proof of payment is furnished and the vehicle is released.
•On Monday morning when the dealer goes to the bank, the bank informs him / her that no deposit has been made.
Always check verify payment details with the bank beforehand.
Do not fall into the trap of believing that that the documents produced are valid.
•A theft or robbery victim receives a ‘phone call from an individual identifying himself / herself as a police officer.
•The “officer” appears to have information on the case and tells the victim that he / she needs to deposit a sum of money to cover the courier charges for the delivery of the stolen property, or for some other bizarre reason.
•The “officer” will request that the money be deposited at Shoprite or via e-wallet.
- The SAPS will never request a person to deposit funds to recover stolen property.
•If the property is recovered, the victim will receive a request from the investigating officer to identify the property at a police station or at a SAPS Site. The victim will be required to complete documentation before the property is released to him / her. There are no fees involved.