Con-artists take to social network for easy cash

26 Apr 2015 14:10pm
WINDHOEK, 26 APR (NAMPA) - A 30-year-old Namibian man landed behind bars after he defrauded a person who was interested in buying a car he had advertised on the 'Buy and Sell' Facebook page.
The man lured his victim by offering a car at an affordable price before requesting a down-payment on the vehicle to be paid to a third party.
The seller, who did not add a picture of the supposed vehicle for sale (a blue VW Golf 4) on the Facebook page, then allegedly sent a picture of the car via the social networking platform, WhatsApp.
The requested selling price for the car remains unknown.
The con-artist requested a deposit of N.dollars 6 000, but since the car was apparently not in Windhoek, an arrangement was reached that the client would fetch the car from Mariental.
The Senior Superintendent of the City Police, Gerry Shikesho told Nampa on Friday the suspect requested the client to pay the money to a third person in Windhoek, who will then give them a parcel of 'livestock medicine' to take along to Mariental.
The unsuspecting client paid the money, collected the 'parcel' and left for Mariental to fetch the car. The supposed seller was however no-where to be found upon his arrival in Mariental, as his telephone was switched off.
Becoming suspicious, the client went to the Namibian Police Force (NamPol)'s office at Mariental, where the parcel was opened, only to find newspapers and a bottle of liquid wrapped in the 'medicine parcel'.
Upon his return to Windhoek, the victim approached the City Police in Windhoek and set a trap for the con-artist was successfully set.
Upon his arrest, the suspect claimed it was the first time that he was involved in the scheme, adding that he merely operated as a middle man.
His duties, he claimed, were to collect the cash from unsuspecting clients and take it to a house in Katutura. He said the man behind the scam is apparently operating his business from within the confines of prison.
The suspect also denied any knowledge of who places the advertisements on Facebook, arguing that doing so does not fall within true ambit of his 'duties'.
The City Police once again warned the public to refrain from getting involved in questionable deals that could result in con-artists robbing them off their hard earned cash.
Shikesho warned people, especially those who desperate for a bargain, to refrain from paying any money to a person that is not known to them.
“They (the con-artists) even enquire when the money is paid into a bank account or in most cases NamPost. They then withdrew the money and switch off their cellular phones,” Shikesho said.
'Stop making deals in the corridors or in the field, rather go to a credible business or get the police involved,' he noted.
The superintendent called on anyone looking for a deal on the social networking sites to rather consult the local newspaper's small advertisement sections.
The suspect is expected to make his first court appearance by Tuesday.