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By Kyle Zeeman

Digital News Editor

Watch out for this prepaid meter WhatsApp scam

If someone WhatsApps you, pretending to be from the municipality and threatening to block your meter, block them instead. It's likely a scam

Officials have warned ratepayers to watch out for scammers pretending to be municipal officials and threatening to block prepaid meters.

The George Municipality issued a public notice to residents this week, warning of the scheme which often happens via WhatsApp.

“We have been informed of telephonic calls and/or WhatsApp messages made to a ratepayer requesting the payment of a large sum of money into an unknown bank account to prevent the blocking of a prepaid meter. 

ALSO READ: Do South Africans open the door for scammers?

“The municipality will not contact a ratepayer telephonically or via WhatsApp regarding the blocking of a meter and also not request a large payment into an unknown account to unblock a meter.”

When your meter is blocked

It said prepaid meters would only be blocked if there is an outstanding amount on your municipal account, and after several SMSs about money owed.

If your meter is blocked, you will have to visit the municipal office or call them to arrange payment.

“Cybercriminals constantly challenge any measures put in place and clients are asked to be vigilant.

“The public is urged to carefully check and confirm the municipality’s banking details as received on a municipal invoice.”

Scam: Want to be a policeman? ‘Send an e-wallet’

In another WhatsApp scam doing the rounds, Limpopo police warned about a scheme promising job seekers a job in exchange for money.

ALSO READ: Beware, South Africa: WhatsApp scams you need to avoid

The scammers often call their victims asking them to send between R2 000 and R5 000 via e-wallet. They then promise to get them documents authorising them to work as cops.

Several complaints were laid over the scam, with police launching an investigation to find the culprits.

It follows a similar scam where those who participated in the recruitment and selection process for the Basic Police Learning Development Programme (BPLDP) received hoax messages demanding they pay R200 for “college accessories”.

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