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Pretoria - Pensioners around Pretoria have been targeted by a syndicate whose members claim to be social security services employees but instead steal their grant payouts.
The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) spokesman Steve Mabona on Tuesday said that more than 20 pensioners in Temba, Stinkwater, Eersterus, Soshanguve and Ga-Rankuwa had been targeted in the scam. “The people target pensioners who are alone during the day. They go to their houses and masquerade as Sassa employees who are there to change their cards.
“They then ask the pensioners for their cards, identity documents and PINs before replacing their real Sassa cards with a new but fake one.
“We have to do an internal investigation to check where the cards were issued and how they got into the criminals’ hands.”
Mabona said that most of the withdrawals with the stolen cards had been made in the Pretoria CBD on October 1.
He said the scam had been detected only in Pretoria, but cautioned all pensioners and other people who received a government grant that Sassa employees would not ask them for their PIN codes.
“We are worried that it might spread to other areas.
“People need to know that unless there was a special arrangement, Sassa employees will not come to your house to change cards. All cards are issued at a Sassa office,” Mabona added.
Sassa introduced the biometric grant payment disbursement system in March 2012 to save grant administration costs, improve operational efficiencies and reduce fraud. Grant recipients had to re-register and get new Sassa cards.