Avatar photo

By Kyle Zeeman

Digital News Editor

Fake police extort money to make ‘cases disappear’- Here are the scams to watch out for

Brazen criminals are pretending to be police, making up charges, and threatening citizens if they do not pay up.

If you get a call from a “police officer” promising to help you get back your stolen car or make a case against you “disappear”, hang up.

Police have warned against imposters pretending to be their officers to extort money.

Investigators from Douglasdale Police Station in Johannesburg are investigating several cases of extortion linked to the scam.

ALSO READ: How extortion syndicates are taking over Cape Town

“Their modus operandi includes phoning victims and their perpetrators of mostly hijackings, theft of motor vehicle, and other crimes. Especially those who have already received case numbers.

“These bogus police would phone the victim or perpetrator and allege to have recovered their hijacked vehicles in another province. They will then ask the victim to deposit money to them to facilitate the return of their stolen property,” explained Captain Mpho Tshetlhane.

‘You’re in trouble with the law’

Tshetlhane said in some cases unsuspecting community members would be called and told they have pending cases against them. The “officers” would then demand they deposit money for their “dockets to disappear”.

What to do if you are being scammed by fake police

Tshetlhane said if you suspect you are being scammed you should try to verify the caller’s identity. You can do this by asking for their name, rank, and location of the police station where they are based.

“Contact the station that the scammer claims to be stationed at to verify whether there is a legitimate warrant of arrest for you. Or whether the supposed official works there.

ALSO READ: Beware of bogus cops

“Do not pay them anything as the legitimate police will never demand cash in exchange for their service.”

‘Police’ money drop and house break scam

The Southlands Sun recently warned of another bogus cops scam in KwaZulu-Natal.

According to police sources, it may happen on those who have just drawn money and are shopping.

They may be approached by a person in the store who points out a man who allegedly found money on the floor.

ALSO READ: Motorists warned to watch out for bogus cops

The man may claim he is innocent, and he and the “witness” may follow you out of the store, before “police detectives” appear to investigate.

Based on a recent case, these “officers” may claim the man is involved in a “housebreak” and insist on the man’s involvement. They may then convince you to come with them as part of their bogus “investigation”.

These officers may also demand access to your belongings and personal information before dropping you off somewhere.

One victim recounted realising her money and cellphone was missing when she got home.

Bogus Cops hijacking

Motorists have also been warned to watch out for fake police officers who try stop you in an attempt to hijack your car.

Krugersdorp News reported these scammers often wear police uniforms and drive vehicles fitted with blue lights.

Watch a video below of bogus police trying to hijack a couple in Pretoria

Gauteng Traffic Police spokesperson Sello Maremane said every traffic officer must have an appointment certificate to show who they are.

“A member of the public has the right to demand to see a certificate, failure to produce it must be a red flag for the motorist. Motorists are also allowed to drive off if the certificate is not shown to them. The National Road Traffic Act dictates that a traffic officer must have a name tag while stopping vehicles.

“Lastly, the branding of the vehicle can be used to identify the organisation’s identity even if it is not compulsory for officers to use branded vehicles.

“If motorists feel unsafe while being stopped by officials, they may stop at the nearest police station,” Maremane said.

Read more on these topics

Crime extortion KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Police scam

For more news your way

Download our app and read this and other great stories on the move. Available for Android and iOS.

For more news your way

Download our app and read this and other great stories on the move. Available for Android and iOS.