Scammers abound this festive season | #datingscams | #lovescams

With the festive season approaching scammers are out in full force trying to get their hands on peoples’ hard-earned money. They are now using popular social media platforms such as TikTok to swindle unsuspecting victims.

Pietermaritzburg police have warned social media users to be vigilant after a local woman was scammed of R2 000 on TikTok.

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Police spokesperson Sergeant Sifiso Gwala said the victim claimed she received a message on TikTok promising to make her lots of money.

The TikTok account owner pretended to be a well-known celebrity and asked the victim for her contact details. The scammer claimed that they were offering investment opportunities with huge returns.

“She deposited R2 000 after which she didn’t hear from the scammer again. This is just one of many scams that criminals are now using. They know that many people are active on social media and that people are looking for quick money,” said Gwala.

He said with the approach of the festive season scammers will be looking for new victims

If you want to buy something or get involved in something with someone you have never met, rather meet them face to face and it must be in a public place.

Apart from emerging social media scams he cautioned people to remain vigilant about all scams particularly those that take place near ATMs.

He said the “money-drop” scam was particularly dangerous.

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They drop a bundle of money next to you and when you find it, they say it’s your luck. They then convince you to come with them to a secluded place to share the windfall. Victims are then taken to secluded spots and robbed off all their belongings. Criminals are gearing up to rob innocent people. People must stay alert and they must not believe anything they are told or promised.

Police offered the following tips on how to avoid being scammed:
• Never deposit money into anyone’s bank account with the intention of purchasing any items seen advertised on internet sites.
• Do not invest money into an unknown person’s bank account for the purpose of receiving a return. Stick to reputable banking institutes.
• Keep banking records such as ATM, deposit slips and cheques that you deposit through mobile banking until you reconcile them with your monthly statement, then shred.

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