THE Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines a ‘scam’ as a “dishonest way to make money by deceiving people” or a “a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation.”
These days, scam artists are everywhere and no one is immune to their wiles and ways of swindling you out of your hard earned cash. A Vryheid resident recently managed to outbluff one of these scam artists after receiving a suspicious text message from an unknown number, stating that a case had been opened against him at SAPS and that he should contact “constable zwane” for more info. A contact number was provided in the SMS.
Upon doing so, the intended victim of this seemingly old scam, was instructed that he needed to pay R1500-00 for a speeding fine. Strangely, the allegedly well-spoken scam artist, “constable zwane” (note the lowercase letters used in this proper noun, as per the original message) on the other end of the line could not furnish the caller with any details of the alleged crime for which he was being charged, other than the fact that it had taken place in Vryheid and he needed to pay R1500-00 by midday or he would be arrested. No case number was available, no description of the circumstances under which he had been caught, no instruction as to where payment was to be made, simply that it was a speeding fine in Vryheid.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that this scam has been doing the rounds for quite some time, as far back as 2012, possibly further.
In many cases, it seems, the “constable” requests your ID number in order to furnish you with the details of your fabricated crime. Under no circumstances should you provide him with any personal details.
This is a scam! If you are ever asked for info, or told to meet with someone claiming to be a police detective, tell them to meet you at your local police station, never organise a meeting at your home or another venue. It is not SAPS protocol to send an sms informing you of a case being opened against you.