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Bloemfontein - The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation's (Hawks) organised crime unit in Bloemfontein has launched an intensive investigation following a number of reports of people "defrauded of their hard earned cash", Free State police said.

They appealed to the public to be aware of and report fraudsters who preyed on unsuspecting victims in the province, Constable Peter Kareli said.

"It is alleged that suspects would approach employees working for government or [who] have been working for a certain time and convince them to retire from their jobs and claim their pension payouts," he said.

"They would then instruct those employees to give money to them with a promise of doubling received funds overnight. The next day when the person goes to check they will be gone and the place will be vacant."

The suspects were currently operating in different areas in and around Bloemfontein and Welkom.

"We have opened cases for people who have fallen victim to the syndicate and want to warn the public of such [a] scheme. Anyone who has fallen prey to the suspects must call the nearest police station or contact Colonel George Mafoyane of the Hawks at 082-373-9259 or office number 051-407-3618," Kareli said.

African News Agency/ANA