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‘Facebook Fraudster’ faces justice for alleged R400k scam

Eager to make the purchase, the victim reportedly paid a substantial deposit of R320,000 as instructed by the alleged fraudster.

A 34-year-old ‘Facebook fraudster’ from Standerton in Mpumalanga was brought to book earlier this week after he allegedly defrauded an innocent victim who sought to purchase a truck from him.

The suspect, identified as Henrik Rautenback, is facing charges of fraud following an elaborate scam that targeted a victim seeking to buy a truck through a transaction on the popular social media platform.

According to police reports, the incident dates back to April 2022 when Rautenback allegedly lured the victim with the pretence of selling him a truck for R400 000.

Police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala explained that, eager to make the purchase, the victim reportedly paid a substantial deposit of R320 000 as instructed by the alleged fraudster.

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Balance of payment

“Assured that the truck would be delivered upon the payment of the remaining balance, the victim proceeded to transfer the outstanding amount.

“However, to the victim’s dismay, the promised vehicle never materialised despite making the full payment,” Mohlala said

Realising he had potentially fallen for a scam, the victim took immediate action and visited the address provided by Rautenback, hoping to recover the truck.

To his surprise, the truck was nowhere to be found, raising suspicions that he had been defrauded.

“The victim subsequently lodged a complaint with the Standerton SAPS in December 2022, prompting a comprehensive investigation into the alleged fraud.

“The diligent efforts of the investigating officers eventually led to the arrest of Henrik Rautenback in Springs, Gauteng, on Saturday, 22 July 2023,” Mohlala confirmed.

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He said that Rautenback now faces charges of fraud in connection with the truck purchase scam.

Following his arrest, he was brought before the Standerton Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 24 July 2023, where he was granted bail of R10 000.

Online transactions

Mohlala said the incident serves as a stark reminder to exercise caution when engaging in online transactions, especially through social media platforms.

“Cases of scams and fraudulent activities have been on the rise, prompting law enforcement authorities to reiterate the importance of verifying the legitimacy of sellers and transactions before proceeding with any financial transactions,” he added.

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, stressed the need for vigilance and urged the public to exercise due diligence while conducting online transactions.

“Remaining alert and cautious can help individuals protect themselves from falling victim to fraudulent schemes, ensuring safer online experiences for all,” she said.

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