Police management in South Africa has warned members of the public to exercise caution when responding to social media advertisements, as criminals are coming up with numerous tricks to scam citizens.
According to the the South African Police Service (SAPS), “the warning stems from numerous scam incidents involving social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp advertisements, circulating since the beginning of this month in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District.”
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In one of the incidents reported recently, a 35-year-old victim saw an advertisement on Facebook of a kombi that is for sale. He made contact with the advertiser, who alleged that he is the lawful owner.
A meeting was arranged in Klerksdorp, where the prospective buyer met the seller and took the vehicle for a test drive. An agreement was made that the buyer will pay R91 000 for the kombi the next day and meet the seller in Wolmaransstad to finalise the transaction.
“The buyer, accompanied by a friend, met the seller in Wolmaransstad as per agreement and took the kombi for a second test drive. They stopped and gave a lift to seven men, who ultimately overpowered the buyer and his friend, tied them up and robbed them of cash and their cellular phones before dropping them off next to a road in Wolmaransstad,” the SAPS said.
In another incident reported in Makwassie, a 42-year-old victim communicated with a prospective seller of goats, after seeing his advertisement on social media.
The men arranged to meet in the morning of Wednesday, 28 December 2022. The prospective buyer met four suspects at Boskuil, close to Makwassie and they overpowered and robbed him of his cellular phone and cash.
“The public is therefore urged to be vigilant of advertisements on social media and to contact the nearest police station should they become suspicious thereof and advised not to carry large amounts of cash or pay money in cash during transactions, but rather opt for an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT),” the SAPS said.