A woman who paid R13‚800 for a second-hand car has found to her dismay that the company does not exist and that she got scammed.
The police in the Umgungundlovu North Cluster in KwaZulu-Natal said on Wednesday they are witnessing an increase in fraud cases where vehicles are advertised in the newspapers and on Gumtree. The sales are fraudulent.
"Innocent victims are falling prey to fraudulent advertisements and depositing money into accounts that fraudsters have set up without viewing the vehicles or establishing the legitimacy of the sale‚" Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said in a statement.
Zwane said the woman who was defrauded of R13‚800 had deposited the money into an account for a Toyota Run-X that was advertised.
"When the vehicle was not delivered to her‚ she made enquiries and realised that the company did not exist and the sale was fraudulent."
Police have made an appeal to the community to be cautious when purchasing items advertised on the internet or the newspapers.
"Victims are often pressurised to deposit the money immediately by being told that there are several offers to purchase and that the item will no longer be available. Out of desperation to buy the item‚ they fall prey to fraudsters."
The SAPS advised: "The authenticity of the sales must be verified before making any payments and payments can only be exchanged with the item during the trade."
People who have fallen victim to similar modus operandi can contact their local police or the SAPS Crime Stop number on 08600 10111.