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Johanensburg - Free State police on Tuesday warned residents against "fake cops" after a 64-year-old pensioner was reportedly swindled out of R25 000 in Welkom.

Police spokesperson Captain Stephen Thakeng said that on Wednesday 26 May 2019 at about 11am, the woman was walking alone from Ubank in Bok Street, Welkom when an unknown adult African male approached her and told her that she was "smeared" with a black substance.

"She noticed that she was indeed smeared and the unknown man then identified himself as a detective as he was not wearing police uniform and insisted that she has been marked by thugs and if she does not let him assist her, she will lose all her money in her bank account," said Thakeng.

He said the suspect then pointed to a white unmarked vehicle with 'Gauteng Province' registration and told the elderly woman to go with them to the police station. 

"When the victim got inside the vehicle, there was an African female and male who took out what looked like appointment card with the police logo on it. The suspects then drove with the victim to Welkom Police Station, where only one suspect climbed out and went inside the police station and came back inside their vehicle stating that his commander instructed him to tell the lady that she should withdraw all her money from her account within 5 hours or else the money will disappear.

"The victim withdrew her money and the suspects told her that they are going to keep it safe for her at the police station. Suspects then dropped the victim at her place of residence in Kutlwanong, Odendaalsrus, and drove off."

Thakeng said the victim realised that she has been defrauded and reported the incident to the police and a case of fraud was registered for further investigation.

Police cautioned residents to be wary of people who approach them and claim that they are smeared with a black substance. 

"If you find yourself in that situation, shout for help or do not cooperate with anyone who claims that that they will take you the Police Station. Do not allow anyone to consult Police Officers on your behalf, instead insist on meeting Police officials yourself," said Thakeng.

Anyone with information was asked to contact investigating officer Detective Sergeant Malefetsane Tilo on 060 304 3572.

African News Agency (ANA)