Warning as bogus cops use inside info to extort car theft victims in Joburg

Bogus police officers are at it again in Johannesburg. File picture: Independent Media.

Bogus police officers are at it again in Johannesburg. File picture: Independent Media.

Published Apr 25, 2024


Joburg police in the suburb of Douglasdale have warned hijacking and vehicle theft victims of a recent scam, where scammers posing as cops, call victims and request payment for the release of their stolen car.

Although the practice is in itself not new, it is believed some residents have complained to the police about the practice.

But how does it happen?

Normally, your car’s just been stolen or hijacked and you’re all shaken up, but thankfully you were unharmed and after a bit of a wait at the local police station you’re now armed with a case number to kickstart your insurance claim.

Then one day, the phone rings and a ‘police officer’ claims that your vehicle has been recovered in another province. All you have to do is pay a deposit to facilitate the return of your stolen property, they claim.

Thankfully you’re not falling for their latest scam.

Douglasdale police in the north of Johannesburg said they were investigating several cases of extortion, in which crime victims have been contacted by scammers posing as police officers.

Victims are contacted by phone and asked to pay for the return of their stolen property.

For the most part these scammers are targeting victims of car theft and hijacking, particularly those who already have case numbers.

But there have been cases where members of the public were contacted and told that they have pending criminal cases against them, and therefore need to deposit money to make their dockets “disappear”.

“We advise the community who receive such suspicious calls to rather verify caller identity by asking for their names, rank, and location of the police station where they are based,” said Douglasdale SAPS spokesperson Captain Mpho Tshetlhane.

Those contacted by potential extortionists are advised to contact the police station where the scammer claims to work.

Where “pending cases” are threatened, one should verify with that particular station whether there is a legitimate warrant of arrest.

“Do not pay them anything as the legitimate police will never demand cash in exchange for their service,” Tshetlhane added.