Pretoria - Private investigator Mike Bolhuis’s name has been used in an attempted internet scam.

More than 3 000 people on his mailing list were urged on Tuesday to deposit $3 200 (R43 555) through Western Union into an offshore account to “assist” Bolhuis in securing a flight back to South Africa from Europe where, the e-mail claimed, he had been attacked and assaulted while working undercover.

Friends, family, clients, consultants, members of the SAPS and other contacts received the e-mail on Tuesday morning in an attempt to extort money from his contact base.

All this while Bolhuis was speaking on a breakfast show on Radio Jacaranda.

Bolhuis said the scam was in revenge for his exposing and investigating an internet scam syndicate in Tongaat, KwaZulu-Natal.

Portions of the e-mail read: “Right now you are the only one i can think of and feel safe to talk to.

“Am secretly in Europe for an urgent undercover investigation concerning a case am working on and am been attacked and followed by some group of people. Right now am finding it difficult to think straight, all i need right now is your support so i can be out of here (sic).”

The e-mail ends by asking that the matter be kept private.

According to Bolhuis, minutes after the e-mail was sent, he began receiving a stream of SMSes expressing concern.

Private investigator Paul O'Sullivan, who had also received the mail, immediately knew it was a scam and notified all recipients.

Bolhuis later sent out an e-mail stating the facts. “I am taking this very personally and will deal with it as such. Mr Paul O’Sullivan will be assisting me in this regards. This mail is not authentic… I am safe at home, continuing with my normal routines. This is a scam.” - Pretoria News