A Mpumalanga man fell prey to online scammers who he paid R150 000 to for a vehicle that was never delivered.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the man from Bethal saw an advertisement online for a white bakkie.
He contacted the seller who told him to send R150 000 to secure the vehicle. After the deposit was paid, the seller vanished.
Hlathi said they were seeing an increase in these types of online fraud cases.
“Since the festive season began last year up to [date], the police in Mpumalanga [have] received more than 15 cases where members of the public were lured via internet and social media platforms to deposit sums of money into deals which were later found to be unscrupulous and never materialised, resulting in them losing a considerable amount of money.
“The police have learnt with great concern that others across the province were scammed out of of thousands of rands in the same fraudulent process.
“The public is therefore again urged to approach reputable businesses, shops or car dealerships that are operating within the ambit of the law whenever they want to make purchases,” Hlathi said.
He said if people insisted on buying online, they should do proper research before handing over any money.
Hlathi said the ways in which the fraudsters lure the public was by posting adverts of cars, household appliances, and other items.
“Once the prospective buyer contacts the fraudsters, they are convinced to urgently deposit money to secure the sale as other people are also interested.