05 A waitress stands and waits for trade in a Nuno's shop.Open for trade ,business as usual for a Nino's franchise at Bank City JHB CBD. Power outage due to a electrical fire at a sub station in JHB CBD . Picture: Antoine de Ras. 28/07/09

Durban - A conman is cashing in on pensioners’ worries about load shedding and high electricity bills. He got away with R24 000 from one Richmond couple and, after another elderly pensioner was scammed out of R16 000, police believe it is probably the same crook.

Now, they are warning people in Richmond, particularly the elderly, to be wary of strangers who ring up offering to help with their water and electricity bills.

The suspect is an Indian man, in his 30s, about 1.6m tall, with dark complexion.

It is alleged that in February, an 80-year-old woman received a call from a man saying he was from a certain company and promising to send someone to her house “to help her with load shedding and lowering the Eskom bill,” police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane said on Wednesday.

Three days later, the couple were approached by a man who identified himself as Andrew, and said he was from “Universal Solutions” , a company that helps pensioners evade load shedding.

“He asked for their identity documents and went to the electricity meter box and came back claiming he had found that their Eskom account was too expensive, and that he could arrange for them to pay less.” He asked for their bank cards and R16 000 was deducted from the woman’s account and R8 000 from her husband’s using his hand-swiping machine.

“He then told them that their electricity bill would drop and left in his white vehicle,” Zwane said.

When their daughter heard what had happened, she realised it was a scam and her parents opened a case of theft by false pretence.

Then, on Saturday, a man, now going by the name of Ric-ardo Abrahams, conned a 77-year-old woman with the same scam and stole R16 000 from her account.

Anyone who can help track down the suspect should contact Detective-Sergeant Nhlanhla Mtshali on 033 212 9492 or 082 459 6299.

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