Port Elizabeth police warn residents of new internet scam

MARCH 16, 2016

Police in Port Elizabeth are appealing to internet users not to be naïve and to be cautious when buying/selling personal possessions or advertising services on the internet.

"Within a week, police in Humewood are investigating two cases where people have been conned out of thousands of rands," said police spokesperson, Colonel Priscilla Naidu.

"The recent scam is when the scammers respond to sale of vehicles or other services advertised on the websites. The ‘interested buyer’ will make contact with the seller and arrange to meet at a public venue.

"When the seller meets the buyer, he is usually on foot. He then informs the seller  that he doesn’t have the money with him but they have to meet another person, who has the money.

"They drive together and meet the person. When in the vehicle, the two conmen engage in a conversation about diamonds and other precious stones. They then coerce the  third person in selling him/her the precious stones. Large sums of money is withdrawn and fake stones are handed over to the person and the men flee with the money."

 According to Colonel Naidu, in the first case, the complainant pawned his vehicle and gave them the money and in the second case, the complainant advertised his services on the internet.

"The scammers contacted him and showed keen interest in using him as a service provider. In the second incident, the suspects accompanied the complainant to the bank and withdrew the money."

Police are investigating cases of fraud.

"The community is warned that buying precious stones is an offence. If approached by any person with such offer, the police must be contacted. Never think that it can never happen to you and always stay alert and be suspicious of dodgy meetings. Police suspect that these scammers move around and do not operate in an area for long," said Colonel Naidu.