Police warns public of scams advertised in newspapers

16 Jan 2014 21:00pm
WINDHOEK, 16 JAN (NAMPA) - The Chief of the City Police has issued a stern warning to members of the public to be cautious when responding to advertisements in newspapers as criminals use this method to defraud people.
This comes after a 21-year-old con-man was arrested on Thursday afternoon after trying to con a woman out of money. He was accompanied by another man who managed to get away.
The suspect, who is allegedly a diploma holder in Information Technology (IT) from a local tertiary institution, placed an advertisement in a local newspaper which read “Urgently looking for a construction company to build 32 houses. Some are also welcome for different types of jobs. Call B Opperman”.
The woman contacted the advertiser and was asked to meet with him on Thursday. He however told her he was delivering building material and had a problem with the petrol pump of a generator at the construction site, before asking the woman to lend him N.dollars 800 to pay somebody who would purportedly give him a new petrol pump.
The woman arranged to meet with the two men, and they then told her that someone had brought them a new petrol pump costing N.dollars 3 800. They told her they need the money urgently, which made the woman suspicious and she decided to alert the police.
In an unrelated incident, a desperate member of the public was nearly conned into registering with a bogus tertiary institution in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
The suspect allegedly pretended to be a representative of the foreign institution and asked that the member of the public pay a deposit to register and secure a position at the school.
The suspect then arranged to meet his client in town but was intercepted and arrested by the police.
“The case is still under investigation and we cannot charge the suspect at this point in time because we intercepted him before an exchange of money could take place,” Kanime said.
He further warned prospective students not to trust anyone who approaches them asking for money to supposedly help them with registration at such institutions.
He added that when someone tries to verify the existence of the institution, they usually find that the institution does not exist.
“When you are given directions on how to get to the university however, you will find yourself stranded in an unknown place or the institution might not even have your registration details on record,” he said.
Kanime also referred to recent scams involving the advertisements of vehicles for sale in newspapers. He told Nampa that a man drove to Kamanjab recently after seeing a vehicle which was apparently in good condition advertised for N.dollars 55 000.
The man arrived at the arranged place for the meeting but then the purported seller ran away from him, leaving a box behind.
Two men pretending to be detectives in the area than approached the buyer and interrogated him, accusing him of meeting the con-man who ran away to buy cannabis which they claimed was in the box.
According to Kanime, the suspects took the box and the money from the buyer and told him that it was police evidence and that they were taking the items into custody for investigation, upon which they disappeared.
“These con artists arrange for their clients to meet them at a certain place with a deposit and then rob them because they know the clients will obviously come with money,” he said.
Kanime added that members of the public should be vigilant as scams come in different forms, such as people advertising livestock and vehicles for sale, or backdoor registrations at institutions.
“I urge the public once again to approach advertisements with caution. If there are any members of the public who have any suspicions, they may approach the City Police and we will investigate the case,” he said.