The police warned that criminals used fake identities to impersonate police officers.
Imposters who posed as police officers and solicited bribes from members of the public are apparently back in business.
Police warned against the old trend whereby criminals impersonate an officer of a local police station pretending to offer to help residents to have their cases “disappear” if they paid a bribe.
Boschkop police spokesperson Sergeant Yeroboam Mbatsane said the scammers usually use WhatsApp to target people who either had some sort of case opened against them before or are currently being investigated.
In a WhatsApp message to the victims the scammer claims to be an officer at the Boschkop police station and alleges that a case of sexual harassment has been opened against the victim.
“The reason I texted you is because I think I can help, but I will have to get my hands dirty,” the message reads.
“I can make sure that the docket is being taken care of before it reaches the judge. How much can you give me if I do that?”
Mbatsane said police officers are not allowed to reach out to any people who are being charged or investigated for crimes.
If they do, the wise thing to do is to contact the said police station to confirm if a case has in fact been opened against you.
“To differentiate between an actual police officer from an imposter you must look at the identification cards. Police identification cards have some security items on them which fake ones do not have,” he said.
“Furthermore real police officers don’t sell dockets.”
Using the name and profile photo of an actual police officer, one scammer also attached a picture of a docket as well as a stamp to further inflict fear on their victims.
They then insisted on rushing the process and threaten victims with proceeding the matter to the judge.
“The station stamp is different from the one used by the suspects,” Mbatsane said.
“Even the dockets are not written the correct way.”
Mbatsane said they might be former police officers or working together with corrupt officers to get intel.
“The aim of the scam is to get money from unsuspecting victims,” he said.
“They use the fake identities to impersonate the police so their tricks looks genuine.”
He urged people to contact their nearest police station or the Bocshkop police station on 012 802 4208/071 675 7350 to report such crimes.