An Ivory Park man who tried to sell his motor vehicle on OLX has been left reeling after he was tricked into handing over his vehicle and papers to a scammer.
According to the Ivory Park SAPS communications officer, Captain Bernard Matimulane, the victim placed an advertisement and he and the scammer agreed to meet.
“Based on what he was seeing on his phone, the seller thought the man had transferred money into his bank account. He handed the vehicle to the seller without having confirmed with his financial institution first. It was only when he went to the bank later that he learnt that there was no money deposited into his bank account, and by then the horse had already bolted,” said Captain Matimulane.
Matimulane added this is called “a deposit and refund scam” and, unfortunately, it is prevalent and not limited to motor vehicles only.
“It operates as follows: A criminal orders goods or services from a business or seller, and makes a payment into the victim’s account, mostly by fraudulent means. Proof of payment is then sent to the victim and goods are handed to the criminal. It is only after goods have been exchanged that victims discover that no funds have been transferred. Criminals achieve this by cancelling the order or request an urgent refund,” he explained.
A case of fraud has been opened with the Ivory Park SAPS for further investigation.
The acting station commander of the Ivory Park SAPS, Colonel Baba Mpotoane, is advising people who want to sell their cars or other properties on their own to exercise vigilance to avoid being scammed or being robbed.
“If for some reason you place an advertisement online, please meet the potential buyer in a public space. If money is to be transferred via the cellphone or internet, please satisfy yourself that indeed the money has been transferred before you hand over your property to a stranger,” said Mpotoane.
Mpotoane further said to protect themselves, sellers or service providers are urged to wait for the bank to clear the deposit before handing over the goods to the buyer.