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Scams target grant beneficiaries

JOBURG - The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) condemns criminal activities of scammers posing as SASSA employees in order to withdraw cash fraudulently from social beneficiaries’ accounts in cash and through debit orders. The latest incidents have been reported in the Eastern and Western Cape this week.

In some cases these fraudsters use the “proof of life” modus-operandi by visiting beneficiaries’ homes, produce forged SASSA identification cards and inform their victims that they were doing inspections to confirm whether the card holder is still alive.

They then ask for the SASSA card, identity documents and PIN numbers. Once in possession of these details they then use the internet and withdraw money from the accounts. In some cases, they use these details to initiate unauthorized monthly debit orders on the accounts.

SASSA in collaboration with the police and other law-enforcement agencies have started high-level investigations into these scams and very soon these criminals will be put behind bars.

“We urge all SASSA beneficiaries not to give out personal details to people visiting their homes. SASSA does not have any officials tasked to visit people’s homes and request beneficiary details” said Ms Virginia Petersen, SASSA CEO. SASSA conducts its business strictly in marked SASSA offices and if people are in doubt they can verify by calling 0800 6010 11 toll free. Furthermore the SASSA payment card is still valid and there is no need to replace it with another one as some agents might incorrectly claim.

“We call upon the public to work together with SASSA and the authorities in helping to expose these fraudsters by reporting them to the police or SASSA immediately. SASSA remains committed to eliminating any form of fraud or corruption that involves its name and its social grant services” concluded Ms Petersen.

A process is currently underway to introduce legislation that will make it difficult for service providers to institute debit orders on social grant accounts.

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