The police in Mpumalanga are warning the public to avoid falling prey to various social media scams as there is an upsurge of criminality involving social media platforms.
During this period, a number of people experienced difficult economic challenges in their lives and this situation presented a window of opportunity for criminals to look for available measures with a view to scam unsuspecting individuals of their hard earned cash.
Criminals would take any available opportunity and use social media to their advantage to lure victims and swindle their cash.
The police have been warning people to be vigilant about these social media criminals who pose themselves as potential employers or salespersons selling under false pretences on social media.
This comes after victims of social media came forward to report incidents in which charlatans conned them.
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Reports suggested that victims would be encouraged to deposit cash into these bogus employers or fake sales representatives accounts.
To mention a few examples, on 23 June 2020, a 60-year-old pensioner narrated on how he was lured into parting with his cash to the tune of about nineteen thousand and two hundred Rand (R19200-00) after following a man that he met on Facebook claiming to be from a certain poultry farm.
The suspect was using social media platforms to advertise a herd of cattle as well as a number of sheep.
The complainant developed a keen interest in purchasing six cows as well as two sheep from the man, unbeknownst to him that he was being lured into a trap.
The scammer falsely advised the victim to transfer an upfront deposit of nineteen thousand and two hundred Rand, whilst the remainder was to be settled on delivery of the stock.
The victim faithfully honoured the agreement and duly transferred the amount agreed upon in two separate transactions, one on 1 June 2020, whilst the second transaction was made on 3 June 2020.
The victim called the suspect to confirm receipt of the deposit, to which the suspect agreed.
The suspect further informed the victim that he was getting the stock ready for delivery on the following business day, which turned out to be false.
Numerous attempts by the victim to locate the suspect did not yield positive results and that is when he realised that he has been scammed.
After exhausting all his endeavours to hold the suspect accountable for his deed, the complainant resorted to opening a case with the police at Elukwatini SAPS.
In a separate incident, another victim responded to a promise of a job offer from a State Owned Entity which was advertised by a bogus representative, was tricked to deposit an amount of four thousand six hundred Rand (R 4600).
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Apparently, the 28-year-old victim responded to the bogus job advertisement on the suspect’s Facebook page and paid the requested amount on 5 May 2020.
When the victim tried to get hold of the job advertiser in order to confirm receipt of the money deposited, the man requested the victim to deposit a further three thousand Rand (R3000-00) for administration purposes and that was when it dawned on the complainant.
The complainant tried to call the suspect on the following day, 6 May 2020, but his phone rang unanswered and the complainant decided to open a case of fraud on 23 June 2020, also at Elukwatini.
Police would like to warn members of the community to desist from paying money to dubious people who promise them lucrative favours in a form of employment or business deals because there are no jobs for sale.
Legitimate job opportunities do not require an upfront payment for administration purposes or any other means.
The police take this opportunity to categorically condemn the tendencies of these criminals as it is evil and often rob victims of their last cent.
Lieutenant General Zuma has weighed in the warning and advised the public to be very vigilant of various scams that aim at robbing them of their cash and property.
The General has further urged the community to refrain from making agreements through social media and pledge to make cash transactions into accounts of strangers.
“Criminals are taking an advantage of the vulnerability of our people and often use media platforms to ignite some kind of excitement that would be characterised by empty promises. Being excited about the good things that comes with technology, people should not forget of the agonising outcomes that they might experience when they decide to take risks with their cash. This can end up in sobbing stories for the victims so people should always be vigilant,” said General Zuma.