Residents are being warned of an easy to execute scam which is seeing hundreds of victims be left empty handed. The scam is becoming a trend in the Phoenix area, the fraudsters prey on people that are desperate for purchase a property for cheaper prices.
The scam is nothing new and has been around for many years but it has seen an increase over the past year.
The fraudsters will advertise the property or get in contact with the people that want to buy a property. They will arrange a viewing at the property, however, the property sometimes does not exist or the “homeowner” is in on the scam.
The fraudsters will offer these houses at much lower market rates, increasing their chances of a successful scam.
While at the property they will instruct you to sign an offer of purchase and give you details to an “attorney” where you will pay the money. The unaware victims will not know that the attorney does not exist and is in fact a fake.
The victims will send over the money to the fake attorney and that is where the money will stay, leaving the victims with their money lost and no property.
To avoid falling victim to these scams, it’s advised to purchase your properties from registered estate agents. If you are not sure if they are registered ask for more details such as contact numbers, websites and business registration numbers.
If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
“There are more than 70 cases of fraud relating to this scam that are under investigation by the Provincial Commercial Crime Investigation Unit. Anyone who is a victim of a similar crime or who knows of criminals who operate with the same modus operandi is urged to contact the investigating officers, Captain Singh on 082 458 5873 or Warrant Officer Ramdass on 083 735 5031. ” said Cpt Nqobile Gwala