THE Eastern Cape police have warned community members about the risks of buying vehicles online, with some Komani residents having fallen prey to scam artists.
Police spokeswoman Captain Siphokazi Mawisa, in a statement, said it had come to the attention of the police that buyers were paying deposits online for vehicles put up for sale without the vehicles being delivered.
Scams, Mawisa said, could cost a lot of money and leave individuals in great distress.
Komani police spokes-woman Captain Namhla Mdleleni said some related cases had been opened in Komani but that the scams were not only restricted to vehicle sales.
“For example, there was a [Komani] businessman who saw a tender to quote and was later told to deliver taps,” Mdleleni said.
“He bought the taps at R130000 and delivered them but when he followed up for payment he could not find anyone where he had delivered the taps.”
In other instances, people bought cars online after first going for a test drive.
A deposit was then made into a bank account, but upon return, the vehicle was nowhere to be found.
She said, in one incident, a resident paid an East London man R5 000 for diamonds which were never delivered.
A 26-year-old man was arrested and will appear in court soon.
Mawisa urged consumers to take care when buying online.
“Phishing and fraud are methods of deceitfully obtaining personal information such as passwords, identity numbers and credit card details by calling, sending e-mails or cellphone messages that look as if they come from trusted sources such as banks or legitimate companies.
“Never respond to e-mails or [texts] appearing to be from your bank, which request your personal details. Remember that no bank will ever ask you to confirm or update your account details by e-mail,” Mawisa said.
She said internet banking passwords should not be saved on a computer’s desktop, computers should not be left unattended after a password had been punched in and internet banking should be avoided in public.