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News - Date: 13 July 2018
Written by: Jo Robinson / Viewed: 1028
Scam artists regularly target Louis Trichardt with very similar scenarios, and while those who have heard about these rip-off artists before might see it coming, the latest potential victims would like to share their modus operandi with those who haven’t.
Last year, the Zoutpansberger reported two cases of residents having been fleeced of their money by these heartless thugs. In February 2017, Mrs Kittie de Bruin lost R275 when she purchased airtime for “Johan Botha”, a wonderful sounding, humanitarian farmer who wanted to donate quite a lot of meat to the old age home. “He really sounded like someone who genuinely cared for the elderly the way he spoke,” she said. “You can’t just refuse such an offer for an institution such as Ons Tuiste.”
A scamster struck again in July 2017 in the form of “Boet Rousseau”, who with a very similar tale of wanting to do good and donate a large amount of beef to Laerskool Louis Trichardt, managed to extort a further R275 in airtime vouchers from Mr Louis Linde, the headmaster. While he had sent a vehicle to collect the meat as instructed, “Boet” phoned back with a request for airtime because his “wife” had almost finished theirs. “We sent it,” said Mrs Elsje Linde. “The man was so kind to give the school meat.”
Once again these crooks are trying their dirty tricks.
Mrs Erika Grobler and Mrs Karen Smit informed us that these scammers are at work in town once again. Erika received a call on her cell phone early on Thursday last week from a man who introduced himself as “Doctor Bertie Malan”. He said that he was the owner of the farm Sterkfontein No 709, 17 km outside of Louis Trichardt. He said that there was a problem with his cold room on the farm, and that he had a half a sheep and a whole beef carcass that he wanted to give away, preferably to be distributed to people in need, before it went rotten. He insisted that she send someone to collect it as quickly as possible. Erika smelled a rat and gave his number to Karen to try and call. Someone called Wimpie replied.
It didn’t take long before “Doctor Bertie” asked if she wouldn’t mind purchasing four R275 Vodacom airtime vouchers and SMS the pin numbers to him, because “Tannie Estie”, his wife, had run out of airtime. At this point the ladies were aware that these people were trying to scam them, so Karen decided to try and find out more. Karen suggested that “Tannie Estie” could be using a little too much airtime and asked why so much was needed. As the calls went back and forth he angrily informed Erika that he had R163 000 worth of products that he needed to get to town to poor people, and that she was getting in the way of his doing that properly. Mainly he really needed to get the airtime because he could not personally bring anything in, so he had a lot of calls to make. He couldn’t “understand” why she was delaying sending the pin numbers to him.
Finally, the “Doctor” realised that these ladies were on to him and he lost his temper. “He shouted at me for wasting his time, when all he wanted to do was get the meat to needy people out of the ‘goodness of his heart’,” said Erika. “We’d heard about a similar scam before, so we weren’t taken in by his seeming kindness and wish to help those less fortunate by gifting them with free meat. We certainly lost a few hours of work time with all of these phone calls today, but hopefully we can get the word out and stop someone else from falling for these con artists.
The common theme is that of a kind farmer with cold-room or related problems having a lot of meat to give away. He can’t get away from his farm, so he asks victims to buy large amounts of airtime and send him the pin numbers for it. The airtime is later converted into cash by the fraudsters.
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Jo joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in 2018 pursuing a career in journalism after many years of writing fiction and non-fiction for other sectors.