Saturday, May 28, 2022

Fraudulent classified adverts new scam in town

Desperation for work has resulted in people responding and falling prey to classified adverts that seem too good to be true while, in actual fact, they are scam adverts.

Classified adverts can be the simplest way to spot jobs, cars and property for rental or sale.

“We do receive reports of people who have been scammed through adverts. Botswana Police Service has at all times through various media alerted the community on emerging crime trends but people are constantly lured into such acts,” said Botswana Police Services Deputy Public Relations Officer, Dipheko Motube.

Early this year, University of Johannesburg sales and marketing graduate, Thabiso, thought she had found greener pastures in South Africa and was joyfully looking at the fact that jobs were hard to get in Botswana.

“I saw a classified advert for full time sales and marketing work at Pretoria in one of the South African advertisers,” Thabiso said. “I called the number and a well-expressed man kindly gave me directions and said I should come for an interview the following day; no negative suspicions crossed my mind and I thought, ‘lucky me’.”

Thabiso said she told her friend about the job and, aware of fraud scams, she advised her to be careful as some people are out there to swindle the public of their hard-earned cash.

A common addition to this scam involves the schemer buying or selling an item over the internet. The buyer would locate the item they wish to buy at a very, very low price and purchase it. In most cases the victims are asked to transfer cash using a money transfer service. The buyer will hopefully wait while the item never arrives and the buyer loses their money.

“I went for an interview the following day. There was no one around when I got out of the lift,” said Thabiso.

“Unexpectedly, this guy stepped out from the stairs and called my name, we went inside his little office, just by the door, he grabbed my bag and me, and fortunately I managed to get away and fled down the stairs.”

Thabiso stated that she met a woman down the street and narrated the whole story.
“She called the police on my behalf but it turned out they couldn’t assist me fully as there was no address where the man gave me directions. The woman told me I was lucky because women like me end up being raped or worse.”

Said Motube: “The truth of the matter is that, victims of such incidents are greedy in the sense that they do not believe and take us for granted every time we alert them of such scams which tend to sound too good to be true.”

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