Community urged to prevent becoming a victim of economic crime

EASTERN CAPE – Fraudsters will continue to find creative means to defraud unsuspecting clients. Hints and tips below will assist the community to prevent becoming a victim and losing hard earned savings! The Commercial Crime Unit in Port Alfred is investigating several cases where complainants are incurring financial losses after undertaking online purchases.

During February this year a complainant responded to an advert of a Toyota Quantum being sold. All communication was done on social media through WhatsApp. Between the 12 and 22 of February 2020, R165 000 was deposited into an account. The following day, 23 February 2020, was the last communication the complainant had with the “seller” who stated that the company was from Congella in Kwa Zulu Natal. Several attempts to contact the “seller” proved futile!

In another similar incident, the complainant “purchased” a VW Polo from a company allegedly named SA Motors based in Randburg. The victim deposited a total of R7200 into a Capitec bank account with promises to deliver the vehicle. Needless to mention no vehicle was delivered and the salesperson is uncontactable!

Earlier this week another incident of fraud involving a vehicle purchased online was reported. The complainant travelled to Gauteng to check with the company which allegedly sold the vehicle and discovered that the salesman was not in the employ of the company.

Advertisements on Facebook advertising items for sale must also be viewed with caution as a report was received of a victim who purchased hair weaves from a company which calls themselves “Brazillian Hair”. The victim paid an amount of R2300 and was given a tracking number from a delivery company with a false/ non- existent tracking number.

Safety awareness against fraud and scams: How to protect yourself from fraud and scams

These simple tips below will help you protect yourself and your family from scams. Scams can cost people a lot of money and cause a great deal of distress. By following these simple tips, you can protect yourself against scams.

•Phishing and Fraud Scams are methods of deceitfully obtaining personal information such as passwords, identity numbers and credit card details by calling, sending emails or cell phone messages that look like they come from trusted sources, such as banks or legitimate companies.

•Typically, these emails or cell phone messages request that users click on a link in the email, which will direct users to a spoofed website – a site designed to fool users into thinking that it is legitimate – to obtain, verify or update contact details or other sensitive financial information. These emails and messages also contain a telephone number and contact person whom you should call, as you are promised you could win large sums of money.

•What you should do to prevent falling victim to scams and fraud:

•Never respond to emails or cell phone messages appearing to be from your bank, which request your personal details. Remember that no bank will ever ask you to confirm or update your account details by email.

•Never provide your online ID, password or PIN to anyone and never write them down or share them.

•Do not save your Internet banking password on your desktop.

•Do not leave your computer unattended after you have entered your Internet banking password.

•Always log off or sign off at the end of a session.

•Avoid doing Internet banking in public areas such as Internet cafés, or on any computer that can be accessed by people you do not know.

•Change your PIN and passwords frequently.

•Put sensible transaction limits on your accounts.

•Only provide your credit card details to reputable companies.

•If it looks too good to be true, it usually is.

•NEVER send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.

Source: South African Police Service