Watch out for internet fraud

Internet and bank card fraud has been rife in Hartbeespoort and the Hartbeespoort community policing forum (CPF) is warning people to be extremely careful when doing transactions online.

“The CPF has lately been inundated with reports on internet fraud and we advise victims to immediately report scams to the police,” said CPF chairman, Romano van der Spuy.

Just in the last month approximately 20 cases of people being scammed when shopping on the internet have been reported. In some cases people have lost over R30 000.

Some of the cases reported include buying fictitious dogs online, paying for goods from ‘companies’ that do not exist en people making ‘false’ payments to online sellers.

“In a couple of cases, people reacted to online advertisements for products sold by a company. They paid money into a bank account only to discover later that the bank account does not belong to the company. There are also reports of people selling items online and receiving ‘false’ payments. The sellers deliver the goods and then discovered that the ‘proof of payment’ was false and ‘n payment was never made.”

Other cases include the purchase of containers, trailers, and even property, online. None of these existed and the fraudsters had disappeared with large amounts of money.

There have also been a large number of cases where unsuspecting people are scammed at ATMs.

“The CPF urges the public to please do their homework before purchasing goods online. Unless you buy from a reputable online retailer, investigate the supposed ‘seller’. If it is a business, look for a telephone number, address, and if possible inspect the goods yourself, especially expensive items such as cars, containers, etc. We also ask the public to be extremely careful at ATMs, Do not accept help from anyone, except bank personnel, and do not allow anyone close to you while doing transactions. If you see suspicious people loitering near the ATM, leave and alert security or the police.”