Facebook app. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)
Facebook app. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Pensioner swindled out of R19 200 by Facebook livestock scammer

By Botho Molosankwe Time of article published Jun 25, 2020

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Johannesburg -  A pensioner has lost R19 200 after a man he met on Facebook promised to sell him livestock, only for the man to disappear with his savings, never to be found again.

The 60-year-old pensioner has since opened a case with the police after battling to locate the man.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the suspect claimed to be from a poultry farm.

The suspect had been using Facebook to advertise a herd of cattle as well as a number of sheep he claimed were on sale. The victim contacted the man and told him he was interested in buying six cows and two sheep.

"The scammer then falsely advised the victim to transfer an upfront deposit of R19 200 while the remainder was to be settled on delivery of the stock.

"The victim faithfully honoured the agreement and duly transferred the amount agreed upon in two separate transactions, one being June 1 whilst the second transaction was made on June 3.

"The victim then called the suspect to confirm receipt of the deposit, to which the suspect agreed. The suspect further informed the victim that he was getting the stock ready for delivery on the following business day, which turned out to be false. 

"Numerous attempts by the victim to locate the suspect did not yield positive results and that is when he realised that he has been scammed. After exhausting all his endeavours to hold the suspect accountable for his deed, the complainant then resorted to opening a case with the police at Elukwatini SAPS," Hlathi said.

In a separate incident, Hlathi said, a man, 28, lost R4 600 after responding to a job offer from a page purporting to be a State Owned Entity on Facebook.

Hlathi said the job was allegedly advertised by a bogus representative who upon being contacted by the victim, made it explicitly clear that he was selling him that job and must pay R4 600.

The man paid the money and when he tried to get hold of the job advertiser in order to confirm receipt of the money deposited. However, the alleged scammer requested him to deposit a further R3 000 for administration purposes.

Hlathi said it was then it dawned on the complainant he could be dealing with a scammer.

"The complainant then tried to call the suspect the following day but his phone rang unanswered and the complainant decided to open a case of fraud on Tuesday June 23 also at  Elukwatini Police Station," he said.

Mpumalanga commissioner Lieutenant-General Mondli Zuma has weighed in on the issue and advised the public to be vigilant of various scams aimed at robbing them of their cash and property. 

Zuma also urged the community to refrain from making agreements through social media and pledge to make cash transactions into accounts of strangers. 

"Criminals are taking an advantage of the vulnerability of our people and often use media platforms to ignite some kind of excitement that would be characterised by empty promises. Being excited about the good things that comes with technology, people should not forget of the agonising outcomes that they might experience when they decide to take risks with their cash. This can end up in sobbing stories for the victims so people should always be vigilant, " he said.


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