Police have warned about escalating cases of fraud in Brits and Hartbeespoort, as well as other various parts of the North West province.
Police said in view of the festive season approaching and the resultant increase in crime, it is vital that consumers and the general public exercise caution to safeguard themselves and their property.
“The current identified hotspots include Hartbeespoortdam and Brits, among others. Types of fraud committed include card-cloning, online fraud, petrol card fraud and vehicle sales fraud,” said police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone.
“With vehicle sales fraud, fraudsters visit car dealerships with fraudulent documents and dealers will only become aware of the fraud after collection of the cars,” he said.
The public should also be careful of goods sold online or on social media, especially Facebook. “Swindlers would advertise and display vehicles for sale. Upon response, unsuspecting victims would be lured to secluded places and robbed of their cash and other personal belongings. In other cases, suspects use social media to advertise products and victims would be given account numbers to make payments, but no deliveries would be made. The victims will realise upon following up that they were conned.”
Police give the following advice to safeguard yourself:
• Be wary if you lose your Identity Document and report it to your nearest police station
• Ensure that the company you are dealing with is legitimate
• Avoid isolated ATMs and using them late at night
• Never accept help from strangers when using ATM
• When you receive suspicious emails or SMS with links, do not click on it as they will redirect you to malicious portals that will harvest your information.
• Never leave your mobile phone unattended at public places or social gatherings. Fraudsters can lock you out of your social media accounts (Facebook/WhatsApp) by using an OTP sent to your phone.
• Never share your personal life on social media as fraudsters use available platforms to approach unsuspecting victims online.
• If you are a victim of social media crime, always keep screenshots of the profile of the suspect as well as screenshots of how your conversations started and ended, as this will assist Cyber Crime investigators in gathering evidence.
• Avoid sharing intimate pictures with strangers on social media as this will lead to Cyber extortion and Cyber-bullying.
• Do not pay money into accounts that are received via email changing known account numbers to new ones without verifying with the company you are doing business with.
• Never allow anyone to trade cryptocurrency on your behalf.